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With the pilot year of the Faith Fund Board underway, Programs in Religion, Interfaith and Spirituality Matters — Penn’s interfaith group — and the Office of the Chaplain will work to bring religious life to the fore.

But Penn’s peer institutions have found other ways to financially support religious life.

Princeton University for example, according to Princeton’s Dean of Religious Life Rev. Alison Boden, has an Office of Religious Life that is supported by endowments given over time by alumni and friends of the university.

“The ORL is the home of the student interfaith group […] and a large number of other programs,” Boden wrote in an e-mail. “We also have the strong presence of denominational campus ministries.”

On other campuses, such as Harvard University, there are many student groups — including religious ones — that are able to qualify for support from the Harvard Office of Student Life, according to Debra Dawson, staff assistant to the Chaplains.

Harvard also has its own church, The Memorial Church, which is staffed by University ministers.

At Penn, the creation of the Faith Fund Board marks the first time the University has dedicated a pool of money to be used exclusively for religious initiatives.

According to University Chaplain Charles Howard, any reluctance on the part of Penn to provide funding for religious programming isn’t rooted in secular bias but is actually a question of how to allocate support fairly among Penn’s religious groups.

According to College senior and PRISM co-chairman Alok Choksi and co-chairwoman and College junior Maria Bellantoni, the University has been somewhat reluctant over the years to provide direct funding.

Some campuses, including Cornell University, supplement administrative religious life support by forming partnerships with outside entities.

For example, Cornell United Religious Work — Cornell University’s administrative hub for its religious programming — is in the process of launching an interfaith ambassador program with the help of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based nonprofit that promotes religious pluralism.

Similar to Penn, Cornell is also an institution with a largely secular reputation.

According to CURW Director Kenneth Clarke, Cornell has been mistaken as “anti-religious” or even “godless.”

“That’s really not the case,” he said.

CURW itself, he explained, presides over a diverse collection of 30 religious student groups on campus.

While Cornell offers a varied religious community, Clarke stressed that there is more work to be done insofar as creating opportunities for interfaith collaboration.

According to Howard, interfaith dialogue is an area in which Penn has excelled especially since the relaunching of PRISM six years ago.

“Religion plays such a vital role at our university, but I don’t think that people are aware of it,” wrote Choksi in an e-mail. “In fact, this is what makes the Faith Fund that much more important.”

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