University of Wisconsin-Madison starts new religion center

Published 8:17 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

By Winona Daily News

MADISON, Wis. — A new center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hopes to spread religious literacy on campus.

The Center for Religion and Global Citizenry comes after the Luber Institute for the Study of Abrahamic Religions closed last year due to lack of funding.

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The center has a clear civic mission of learning about different religions and spreading that knowledge on campus, said Ulrich Rosenhagen, a religious studies lecturer at the university and the center’s director.

“To grow together as a small group of students who understand how interreligious dialogue might work on a small level and then go out to translate that into the wider campus,” he said.

The center currently has 12 students of differing religious identities. Unlike the Lubar Institute, the new center includes non-Abrahamic faiths, such as Hinduism and secular humanities.

“We want to make sure that in this changing environment, in this increasingly pluralistic world, that students can figure out the space in between. Where they can be religious if they want to, but they don’t have to,” Rosenhagen said.

Sophomore Maddie Loss is one of the students selected to study at the center. She’s Christian and said she hopes to learn from the center to move forward in a career in ministry.

“With the current context that we’re living in here on campus with all of the different like graffiti at a synagogue and just micro aggressions, I know that in order to better equip myself to lead different faith communities in the future, I needed to be learning about them now,” she said.