InterFaith Center looks to improve campus image

The InterFaith Center recently launched an effort to rebrand its image on campus by showcasing the services it offers to the campus community. IFC manager Sarah McLean is spearheading this effort.

McLean said that she enlisted the help of students in the hopes that small groups of students would be able to successfully rebrand the IFC and educate fellow students about its current offerings and potential functions.

“The InterFaith Center has had a relationship with Geneseo for 43 years. We consider ourselves to be a neutral, welcoming space for faith and non-faith groups to meet, hold events and interact,” McLean said.

McLean said that she acknowledges that many people see the IFC mainly as a space to hold events and that “a lot of people think of food” in relation to the IFC because “most events are food-based.” With this in mind, McLean said that she plans to offer healthy cooking classes beginning in spring 2013.

According to McLean, starting Dec. 11 the IFC will host quiet study hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. These will end with the conclusion of finals on Tuesday Dec. 18.

McLean said she would like to have the doors to the IFC open all the time but doesn’t currently have the staffing for it.

“I want people to feel relaxed and comfortable here,” she said. “I would love the students to see the InterFaith Center as a hang out, but I don’t want it to become a [recreational] center. I want it to be a place they can come to when they need comfort or community.”

Currently, the InterFaith Center is home to four student faith groups: Geneseo Hillel, Geneseo Wesley Fellowship, Korean Christian Fellowship and the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry.

“Because the Newman group is the largest, people sometimes call the InterFaith Center the Newman Center,” said McLean. This misconception is one of the reasons she said that she feels rebranding the IFC is a good idea.

While McLean said that she has many ideas for the “new and improved” IFC, there are several aspects that she plans to keep intact during the reinvention.

“I definitely want to keep the faith groups in residence,” McLean said. “I also want to keep our flexibility. Since we are not a church, we are not tied to only offering things that relate to one particular faith.”

McLean said that she aims to continue to host an annual Ecumenical Ash Wednesday Service, where students and community members alike come to celebrate on Ash Wednesday. She also said she would like to offer events where the students and community can come together.

In addition to this, the IFC offers teen talk sessions on Monday nights and is host to an annual Thanksgiving dinner. The center will hold this year’s dinner on Thursday Nov 15.