4th annual Interfaith Regional Gathering to bring students to the farm

To get their hands dirty, the Fourth Annual Interfaith Regional Gathering allows students to volunteer at the World Hunger Relief Farm. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Caitlin Erramouspe | Reporter

The fourth annual Interfaith Regional Gathering on Saturday will provide Baylor students the opportunity to volunteer at the World Hunger Relief Farm from noon to 5 p.m.

The event is hosted by Better Together BU, Baylor Spiritual Life, and the Baylor Multicultural Affairs department and is aimed at informing students about food insecurity.

Phoenix junior Nathan Rowan and San Francisco junior Courtney Haubert are the student co-leaders of Better Together BU. Haubert said the event centers around service and learning.

“Students can spend a day serving their community while learning about why food insecurity is an interfaith common ground issue, and how they can use their religious background or worldview to contribute to better conversations and activism surrounding food insecurity,” Haubert said.

Rowan explained that students won’t be on their feet the entire time.

“We will be doing a mix of physical volunteer labor on the farm, talking about why the work the World Hunger Relief Farm does matters and discussing food insecurity as an issue more broadly,” Rowan said.

Sharyl West Loeung, Baylor’s senior coordinator for outreach and inclusion, said students of any classification and major can learn and benefit from volunteering at the farm.

“Food can be a justice issue, a health issue, an issue of zoning. We have plenty of pre-law, pre-health and pre-business students that can learn something that will be beneficial to their future careers. That is actually why interfaith friendships are impactful,” Loeung said.

Loeung said, typically, other universities participate in the annual event.

“The first year we received a grant from the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) after applying to host the Southwest region’s regional gathering. Schools such as TCU, St. Edwards, McMurry and Schreiner University came to Baylor, and we’ve been hosting ever since,” Loeung said.

However, due to COVID-19, this year’s conference will look a little different, Haubert said.

“We’ve had to limit this year’s gathering to the Waco community, but we’re still hoping to bring in outside perspectives to help keep that feeling that this work is greater than just our small efforts and has an impact beyond what we can see,” Haubert said.

With limited opportunities to volunteer in Waco currently, the IRG aims to give students the opportunity to volunteer with their Baylor community.

“An opportunity to build relationships with students that might have wildly different backgrounds from yourself and learn about both the differences that make you unique from one another and the shared values that bring you together to work on issues like food insecurity,” Rowan said.