By: Brooke Beall and Anna Brown
In 2010 the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values was finally open to the UT community. It is supposed to be for any student from any denomination to be able to practice their religion here, but that’s not that case. Many students believed that this would be a chapel that would provide various services throughout the school year. What they came to find out was that wasn’t the plan at all.
In fact, from what the students can see the only service held in the chapel that has been “religious” was Ash Wednesday. Stated on their website,“..enhancing the understanding of diversity, world cultures and religions, and improving religious literacy…” is the goal of the chapel, yet students use it more as a study lounge or hangout. Make it more than just a beautiful piece of architecture to look at and put it to use like any other chapel or center of faith.
How can it state on their website that the purpose of this chapel is to increase knowledge of other religions and they don’t even provide information about religions inside? For instance, the meditation rooms derive from the religion Buddhism, but there is nothing to broaden your view on how to better understand or appreciate it. Same goes for information about the nine student organizations they talk about on their website.
Most students couldn’t name three of the nine organizations that focus on religious issues. If even pamphlets about these groups were in there it could provide students with a starting point of learning more.The university is extremely diverse with students from all over the world and this chapel gives them the opportunity to expand the minds of not only the students, but the entire UT community.
Why not use this building for more than just decoration and show the diversity we have and give each other the opportunity to teach one another more. The problem with most people is they may know about different religions, but don’t educate themselves on it. So, why not take this as a chance to expand your horizons.