President Tetlow Holds Interfaith Picnic


“Together we hold onto our hopes, our values and our vision for this coming year,” said the newly-elected President Tania Tetlow at the Interfaith Picnic on Aug. 31.

The Interfaith Picnic, which was held at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, acted as a way to “kick off the semester,” according to Campus Ministry.

The first couple hundred of attendees were given custom Fordham picnic blankets and all guests had the option of taking various pamphlets, prayer booklets and other literature provided by the university.

There were dozens of speakers, including several Campus Ministry officials and members of the clergy from the New York area. Tetlow was the most anticipated speaker at the event and she spoke fondly about her Jesuit upbringing, the importance of faith in her life and the university’s history. Calling the Manhattan gathering a “sacred space,” the president wished blessings upon all students and staff as they venture into the new year.

The event was also interactive, and guests were asked to write their goal or prayer for the year on a provided card; then, all cards were collected and redistributed. The organization spoke of the practice being a form of “communal prayer” and to give comfort knowing that there is someone else in the university family praying for your wishes.

The event also included speakers from other faiths, as well as cultural dances and songs performed by honored guests. With a full house, students were attentive and respectful; the event harnessed the strong sense of community Fordham has not only for its practicing religious students but for students from all walks of life, regardless of their beliefs.

The event concluded with a fully catered lunch, featuring various cultural dishes and also boxed meals of both the halal and kosher variety. Many attendees remained long after the speaking portion of the event concluded to mingle and connect with their fellow students and faculty.

Carol Gibney from Campus Ministry manned the department’s information booth, giving out lip balms, stickers and pamphlets advertising the breadth of opportunities available under the helm of Campus Ministry.

There was a particular emphasis on Fresh Vision, Fordham’s retreat for First-Year students, which occurs on the week of Sept. 16 for Lincoln Center and Sept. 23 for Rose Hill students.

This event marks the beginning of a new era under the leadership of Tetlow, with a new emphasis on interfaith experiences, inclusion and diversity in faith. The picnic is tangible evidence of a new, fresh set of hands at the helm of Fordham; someone with real experience and desires for equity and equality of all kinds.