Is UCLan really as multi cul- tural as the prospectus says?
After the success of Faith Awareness Week, Pluto’s Terri-Ann Williams explores what others think about the prejudice surrounding religion.
and beat off many other towns such as Blackburn to the post. Since then, Preston has thrived as a city and has opened its doors to people from all around the world. Whether these people are now students or perma- nent residents in Preston, it is clear that the city has welcomed many nationalities and done its upmost to make them feel at home. When I first arrived at university, I felt as though there was a lot of pressure to be in a religious group. However, after attending events at
Faith Awareness week, I realised that there was no pressure to be religious or spiritual. UCLan and the religious societies that are available to students are a great way of educating people on different religions. The societies are there to give you
knowledge on their religions, separate the good and bad opinions and put a friendly face to them .They are also there to answer any questions you may have about religion and what it could do for you.
Mohammed Seedat who is part of
The School of Social word at UCLan said: “Interfaith weeks is a great oppor- tunity for all religions to come together on one platform and share the similari- ties and common between religions. “Also, it allows students to see how
diverse and multicultural Preston is as a city and how different religions and groups all live together as one commu- nity. It helps to get rid of stereotypes and any misconceptions people have on religion for example Islamaphobia.” The Mosque opening attracts many students and people from the commu- nity and it gives a chance for them to ask any question they have on religion.
“Education and learning are the
foundations of Interfaith Week
Preston is a good example for many ”
cities, and the university has greatly helped in shaping Preston as a com- munity with the 120 different nationali- ties at UCLan. Preston celebrates many different religious festivals and cultural events. This creates love, peace and unity amongst all Prestonian’s and students. The more interfaith and more dia- logue Preston can achieve the more we are working towards spreading this harmony.
At UCLan the Multi Faith Centre helps to offer students time to pray in a designated area as well as guidance in life and University. Even if someone isn’t looking to follow a religion knowing that there are options out there for you
Since gaining city status in 2002, Preston has opened its doors to people from around the world. Faith Awareness Week took place last week
as a student and that guidance is here is imperative to many students who find their time at university difficult. One of the biggest multi faith com-
munities in Preston is that of UCLan. Over 2000 international students come to UCLan each year whether it is only for a semester or a whole course. The international students are a large part of UCLan and Preston as a city. From the 2000 students that come to UCLan each year there are 120 different religious groups. All of which have their own ways of
life, different ways of doing things and different requirements. UCLan’s Faith Awareness Week has been a big hit across the campus with events running all week to help educate and show people the different religious groups that are available at UCLan and to enlighten students into different reli- gious groups and their way of life. Joseph Cooper who is UCLan’s Student Involvement & Development Coordinator and the man who has or- ganised the Faith Awareness week said: “The week has provided an opportunity
for the student faith societies on campus to come together, develop a dialogue with each other and put on a series of events which highlight the diversity of student faiths across the UCLan campus. “This is the first time we have at- tempted such a week and it is still very much in the embryonic stages but it’s a start and from these small beginnings we hope that we will form a Faith Forum once the week is finished and that there will be other ‘Faith Awareness’ events throughout the year – so that it is not just a one off but builds into something more meaningful.” The aim of the week was to “explore faith on and around the campus.” Many different religious groups and societies came together to make the week a great experience for the students of UCLan. Because of the growing international students at UCLan, the impact that this has on the university as a community and the influence of Faith Awareness Week, the Labour Students society are planning on holding a Faith and Politics talk at some point in Semester 2.
Faith Awareness week at UCLan was inspired by a national campaign for ‘In- terfaith week’ which is set to strengthen interfaith relationships on a nation level as well as to increase the understanding of non-religious and religious people alike.
Ali Amla who is the Northern Coor- dinator for iEngage - who help promote media and political awareness for British Muslims. Ali has also been involved in interfaith week for numerous years. He was also involved in interfaith
week as a student and commented: “Interfaith Week is a great opportunity to learn more about the diverse faiths present in Preston. “For students this is a great oppor- tunity to learn more about the faiths they will come in contact with during university and upon graduation into the working world.
“Education and learning are the foundations of Interfaith Week which is the primary way of challenging prejudice and myths that are prevalent in society today.”
Multi Faith week organisers at UCLan
felt it would be a good idea to rebrand the interfaith week as Faith awareness week in order to help students under- stand what the aim of the week was. The week included faith exhibitions,
prayers and visits to mosques and churches in Preston. Which were led by the Christian Union, The Catholic Soci- ety, The Islamic Society and The Ahlul Byat Society.
Faith societies affiliated with UCLan Students’ Union:
Abul Byat Society Catholic Society Christian Union Islamic Society
fter winning the Golden City contest in 2002, Preston was granted city status in the UK,
Friday 2 December 2011 | PLUTO
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