DU Interfaith Challenge
Designed to break down boundaries of exclusion and support a more inclusive and deliberate community, the DU Interfaith Challenge asks all University faculty, staff, students and other community members to integrate holidays and annual observances from a wide range of religious traditions into their calendars and scheduling practices. In promoting this simple task, we commit to ongoing mindfulness of religious practices and how they intersect with the daily lives of scholars, professionals and the broader community. It's one way the Center for Judaic Studies supports DU's dedication to inclusive excellence on campus and beyond.
Ready to transform your calendar into an interfaith calendar? Scroll down for a step-by-step guide.
How to "Interfaith Your Calendar"!
Best Practices for Interfaith Scheduling
Building an interfaith calendar is simple, but it's important to maintain your commitment to inclusivity as you schedule meetings, plan events and develop new projects. Professor Sarah Pessin, interfaith chair at the Center for Judaic Studies, has developed a set of seven best practices to help you integrate interfaith and intercultural sensitivity into your personal, academic and professional life.
You can also explore the best practices below.
Create a system for checking your interfaith calendar before scheduling any meeting or event
It's important that you and your colleagues do not rely on memory alone to respect interfaith observances when scheduling meetings. Simple ways to ensure inclusivity include developing a scheduling checklist that includes interfaith information or assigning a staff member to check the interfaith calendar when any meeting or event is planned.
Be mindful of fasting days
Fasting days, or religious observances that ask participants to abstain from food, can complicate event planning. Check your interfaith calendar and ensure that you respect fasting guidelines if your event would include a food service component. Note that some fasting days also have restrictions on work.
Check guidelines for scheduling events on religious holidays
If no one in your office observes a given religious holiday, it's likely acceptable to schedule a meeting or event for that day. However, it's important that you consult with colleagues and peers to ensure that event planners are fully informed of any religious restrictions—don't assume that you already know the answer. Note that not all religious holidays imply restrictions on work.
Don't focus on whether a student or colleague is observant
Rather, focus on what the interfaith calendar tells you about the cultural and behavioral associations with any religious holiday. Remember that even non-observant individuals often celebrate religious holidays as a form of cultural bonding.
Be aware of travel and other restrictions that occur on the days surrounding a holiday
Many religious holidays require extra time for travel or family visits, which can mean that individuals may be unavailable for more than one day.
Keep your interfaith calendar up to date
Schedule a time each January when you'll thoroughly update your calendars for the coming year's religious holidays and observances.
Acknowledge and apologize when you schedule an event or meeting that conflicts with a religious holiday
Mistakes can occur, and sometimes there is no way (especially in professional environments) to avoid scheduling conflicts with religious holidays. When this happens, it's essential that the planners reach out to participants and acknowledge the conflict, apologize and work to prevent this from occurring in the future.
“We apologize to those who might be unable to attend our event due to [name of holiday]; scheduling and other factors led us to select this date, and we hope to avoid similar outcomes in the future. Inclusivity—including religious inclusivity—is a value we work hard to uphold.”