By: Sarris Balcerzak ~Staff Writer~
The Center for Interfaith Community Engagement is hosting Golden Rule Week, which began on April 13 and will conclude on April 17 with Hug Day. “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,” is a concept echoed by 10 faith traditions. Signs are dispersed around campus to remind and inform students about the Golden Rule.
“It is important for us, as a part of a global community, to understand that compassion and love are common in every faith,” Interfaith’s Program Assistant Stephanie Renny said in an e-mail.
The annual Golden Rule week started in 2009 with yard signs that represented 10 faith traditions, showing the universality of different faith-based maxims. New to Golden Rule Week this year is a series of educational programs.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 15, Six Hours for Syria will raise money for Doctors without Borders in Syria via open mic performances of every kind. Interfaith will partner with the Muslim Student Association as co-sponsors of the event.
Between noon and 3 p.m. on April 17, volunteers will be giving free hugs in Fountain Square. Anyone who wishes to participate will enjoy warm embraces and a free t-shirt. Students are free to volunteer for half an hour or stay for the entire event. Interfaith covers MetroPlus bus fair for students to get to Fountain Square.
“Having this friendly touch, just somebody simply touching our arm and holding it, buffers the physiological consequences of this stressful response…(touch) also increases release of oxytocin…which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” Matt Hertenstein, an experimental psychologist at DePaul University, told NPR.
As a follow-up to Golden Rule week, Interfaith will be sponsoring two additional events on April 19. Charity Fest will be taking place on the Xavier Yard from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be food, games and raffles, including a basket “filled with Interfaith t-shirts and swag.” Proceeds benefit Greater Cincinnati’s largest homeless shelter, Drop Inn Center.
Immediately following Charity Fest, the documentary “Slavery By Another Name” will be playing in Kennedy Auditorium. Interfaith, along with the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and the history department, are sponsoring the discussion of the documentary led by S. Paul O’Hara, assistant professor of history at Xavier.
Also, the Last Shaabat Dinner will take place on April 24 in order to celebrate Jewish traditions.
“We will be honored to help heal Syrian refugees, support Cincinnatians affected by homelessness, promote justice, and hug strangers,” Renny said. “For me, Hug Day is most representative of what we are about. The day is filled with joy as we celebrate and literally embrace people from all walks of life. Hugs are universal. This year’s shirts will say, ‘Happiness is an unexpected Hug: a Hug means love in every language.’”
Anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Students can sign up to be a part of the hug team by visiting GSC 340. Contact Stephanie Renny at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (513) 745-3569 for more information.