UConn Faith and Expression Challenge

Explore New Beliefs & Traditions

The UConn Faith and Expression Challenge is an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with different student organizations with the goal of developing a plan to learn from each other.

This thought exchange amongst student organizations will move quickly to allow ideas to be implemented this year.

All semi-finalists will be invited to dinner on Wednesday, November 30th at 6pm, located in the Husky Suite of the UConn Rec Center.

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Connect ...
with up to 4 different student organizations

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Develop ...
ideas that strive to celebrate differences amongst ALL student organizations - Innovation & Creativity Welcome!

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Share ...
your group's idea with the Steering Committee made up of faculty, staff and students, 3-4 proposals will be chosen this academic year to be developed and implemented

How Does It Work?

Create a Team

Up to 4 student organizations can be considered a team.

Learn More

Develop an Idea

View the challenge goals and contest criteria for teams.

Learn More

Submit a Proposal

Present your team's fully-developed concept by 11:59pm, Friday, September 23.

Learn More

All student organizations are eligible to participate. Innovation and creativity are welcome. Expression does not need to be limited to organized religion and can include cultural traditions and activities focused on mindfulness and well-being.

Information Sessions

Weekly Open Forum

Wednesdays at 3:00pm
August 10 thru September 21

Join with Meeting Link:
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/join/joa02006

AUG 31 | 7:00pm
Virtual Info Session
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

SEPT 1 | 1:00pm
St. Thomas Aquinas 

SEPT 6 | 7:00pm
Virtual Info Session
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

SEPT 7 | 12:00pm
UConn Hillel
FREE PIZZA

SEPT 7 | 6:00pm
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
Meet & greet with other organizations
FREE DAIRY BAR VOUCHERS

SEPT 8 | 7:00pm
Virtual Info Session
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

SEPT 8 | 3:00pm
Student Union 324
FREE FOOD & SNACKS

Regional Campus information sessions will be posted soon for Avery Point, Waterbury, Stamford and Hartford.

RSO Advisor Training/Resources

Trust Building / Icebreaker Workshops (Virtual):

Presented by Dr. Tina Huey, CETL-Faculty Development
Kristina Stevens, Director, UConn Mental Health

Tuesday, September 6, 2022, Noon-1pm

Thursday, September 8, 2022, 2pm-3pm

Location: WebEx: https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

These sessions will offer advisors the opportunity to advance and develop skills needed to help student organizations form and partner in collaborative ways. Such a process comes with great enthusiasm, excitement, and the potential for challenges. This workshop is designed to provide some tools for advisors as you support student groups in these efforts. We will practice icebreakers that allow group participants to get to know one another to more complicated activities designed to support group development, building of trust and community.

UConn Faith and Expression Challenge Steering/Selection Committee

  • Michael Bradford, Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff and Student Development
  • Elly JB Daugherty, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
  • Brendan Kane, Director, Democracy & Dialogues Initiative/ Associate Professor History & Literature, Cultures, & Languages
  • Michael Vidal, Director, Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, Office for Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Mike Enright, Deputy Spokesperson and Manager of Internal Communications
  • Rod Rock, Director, Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts
  • Nadine Brennan, Associate Campus Director, UConn Hartford 
  • Erica Granoff, Director, Student Services, UConn Stamford
  • Noemi Maldonado, Director, Student Services-UConn Avery Point
  • Nathan Emery, Coordinator, Student Activities, UConn Waterbury
  • Sarah Bernhardt, Program Coordinator for Student Organization Support- Student Activities
  • Jacqui Schulefand, Director of Engagement, UConn Hillel
  • Jonathan Ficara, Pastor, St. Mary-St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center
  • Adith Velavan, Student, Interfraternity Council President (IFC)

Student Organization Leaders Message – September 2, 2022

Good Morning Student Organization Leaders!

I hope your first week of classes has gone well.

I’m writing to encourage your organization to consider entering the UConn Faith and Expression Challenge.

All student organizations are welcome to take part in this challenge.

Here’s how it works…

  1. CONNECT with up to four other student organizations and register your team online
  2. COLLABORATE with one another by sharing your guiding principles, beliefs and/or traditions. What does your student organization represent and how does it represent you as a person/UConn student? Ask questions of each other and get acquainted.
  3. DEVELOP ideas to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on all of our campuses.
  4. Proposals must be submitted online

Semi-finalists will need to present their proposals in-person on October 19th from 6-8pm at a dinner/reception. Proposals must clearly demonstrate achievement of fund goals, collaboration among groups of different beliefs and identities, and include a budget and leadership plan. Students can apply for funding as a team that demonstrates collaboration. A Selection Committee formed of university staff, faculty, students, and affiliates will select the ideas to be advanced and implemented at UConn.

Up to four proposals will be advanced this academic year. These groups will be provided an advisor, as well as funding to advance their idea.

For more information consider attending an informational meeting:

Weekly Virtual Open Q&A Sessions- Every Wednesday at 3pm-4pm
Starts Wednesday, August 10th  – Ends Wednesday, September 21st
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

Tuesday, September 6th @ 7pm- Virtual Information Session
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

Wednesday, September 7th
12pm: UConn Hillel (Pizza):  54 N Eagleville Rd, Storrs, CT 06268
6pm: Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts

Student Organization Meet and Greet
Free Dairy Bar Vouchers!
Thursday, September 8th @ 7pm - Virtual Information Session
https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

Thursday, September 8th @ 3pm (Free Food/Snacks)
Student Union 324

Thank you for your consideration. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

John

 

John Armstrong
Associate Dean of Students & Director-Off Campus and Commuter Student Services

Advisor Message – September 1, 2022

Good Morning Advisors,

I hope you are all having a nice start to your semester.

I’m writing with a friendly reminder about two workshops being offered next week for all RSO Advisors.

This is a great opportunity to support student organizations partnering to develop proposals for the UConn Faith and Expression Challenge.

All organizations are welcome to participate!

Trust Building / Icebreaker Workshops (Virtual)
These sessions will offer advisors the opportunity to advance and develop skills needed to help student organizations form and partner in collaborative ways. Such a process comes with great enthusiasm, excitement, and the potential for challenges. This workshop is designed to provide some tools for advisors as you support student groups in these efforts. We will practice icebreakers that allow group participants to get to know one another to more complicated activities designed to support group development, building of trust and community.

Presented by Dr. Tina Huey, CETL-Faculty Development

Kristina Stevens, Director, UConn Mental Health

*Both sessions are offering the same format/materials- 2 Times/Days only to accommodate schedules

  • Tuesday, September 6, 2022, from Noon-1pm
  • Thursday, September 8, 2022, from 2pm-3pm

 Location: WebEx: https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

I hope you can attend.

Thank you,
John

 

John Armstrong
Associate Dean of Students & Director-Off Campus and Commuter Student Services

Advisor Message – August 23, 2022

Dear Advisors,

Over the past few weeks, you have received communications from me outlining the UConn Faith and Expression Challenge. Our hope in developing this challenge is to promote collaboration across differences. Given that student organizations represent a broad range of beliefs and traditions, this is great pathway to cultivate new ideas to magnify and advance diversity and inclusion on our campus. The challenge is not solely focused on faith-based student organizations- it is focused on all student organizations interested in making a difference on our campus.

Advisors are an integral part of this challenge, please…

  • Encourage your organization members to join the challenge
  • Help your group connect with other organizations
  • Guide them through the process
  • Share the attached promotional flier on your social media
  • Consider being a mentor at the implementation stage of the process (see below for more on this)

To support Advisors, there are two scheduled sessions to help with group collaboration and connectedness.

Trust Building / Icebreaker Workshops (Virtual): Presented by Dr. Tina Huey, CETL-Faculty Development

We will practice 5 - 6 icebreakers, from simple games that allow students to get to know one another to more complicated activities for building trust and community. We will discuss topics of interest to participants, such as ensuring accessibility of the icebreaker, adapting options, anxiety, and the value of icebreakers for learning.

  • Tuesday, September 6, 2022, from Noon-1pm
  • Thursday, September 8, 2022, from 2pm-3pm

Location: WebEx: https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

Advisors Needed!

Following the review of team proposals by the Steering/Selection Committee in early October, up to four ideas will be advanced this academic year. If you are interested in working with one of these individual groups to guide them and serve as a mentor in the development and advancement of their ideas, please contact me.

If you have questions, feel free to attend one of the many information sessions or reach out to me directly.

Best to you this academic year, and thank you for your support in advancing this initiative at UConn.

John

 

John Armstrong
Associate Dean of Students & Director-Off Campus and Commuter Student Services

Challenge Message – August 10, 2022 – Details and Challenge Overview

UConn Faith and Expression Challenge
Details and Challenge Overview

What is it?
The University of Connecticut is committed to being a place of transformation and acceptance of the many traditions and identities that are welcome on our campuses. As an educational community, we seek to learn from one another, accept difference, and grow. UConn recognizes the need to support identified differences and spiritual expression in all forms.

The goal of this challenge is to encourage dialogue, celebrate different traditions and forms of spiritual expression, acknowledge differences, and foster an understanding of diverse world views as it relates to faith beliefs and spiritual expression. This will provide opportunities for groups to come together without compromising their sense of traditions or identity while still promoting the common good of One UConn.

Through this initiative, students will be invited to collaborate and apply for funding for projects designed to achieve these goals. All student organizations are eligible to participate. Innovation and creativity are welcome. Expression does not need to be limited to organized religion and can include cultural traditions and activities focused on mindfulness and well-being.

How the challenge works

  • Students can apply for funding as a team that demonstrates collaboration. There is a team limit of up to four groups of varying beliefs and traditions (student organizations, student professional societies, or clubs)
  • A Selection Committee formed of university staff, faculty, students, and affiliates will select the ideas to be advanced and implemented at UConn
  • Each proposal will be provided an advisor. Facilitated meet and greets with teams will include discussion of individual beliefs and traditions
  • Proposals will be submitted online.  Semi-finalists will need to present their proposals in-person.  Proposals must clearly demonstrate achievement of fund goals, collaboration among groups of different beliefs and identities, and include a budget and leadership plan.

How can I connect with another student group?

  • UConntact: Explore UConntact! All Student Clubs, Organizations and Societies are represented here. Is there a group that might complement your organization? Or maybe one that you would like to get to know better - Think  - A  “Dance, Vocal, Music Performance group meets with a Tech Building & Design group”  or A “Religion and Spirituality group connects with a Health Wellness club.”
  • Explore categories of organizations through UConntact such as Creating/Crafting, Culture/Community, Political Interest, Service, etc.
  • The Involvement Fair: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 from 2-7pm on Fairfield Way - This is a great way to meet other clubs, organizations or societies.
  • Advisors are an excellent resource who can help identify other student organizations to partner with on the challenge

    Registering a team

    • Registration of Teams and Proposal submissions begins Monday, August 22nd on the challenge website.

    Timeline

    • Week 1-4:  August 29th – September 25th
      Groups Form, Register and Develop Proposals
    • Weeks 5-7: September 26th - October 14th
      Ideas will be reviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of faculty, staff and students.
      Ideas/proposals to be advanced – Teams Notified
    • October 19th   6-8pm – Student Union 304
      Finalists will be invited to a dinner and program in Student Union 304 to present their ideas.
    • November 2022 - May 2023: Launch of approved programs

    Information Sessions:

    • Regional Campuses will also be hosting informational sessions - Be on the lookout for those dates/times coming soon at Avery Point, Waterbury, Stamford and Hartford

     

    Also….
    *Weekly Virtual Open Q&A Sessions - Every Wednesday from 3pm-4pm
    Starts Wednesday, August 10th  – Ends Wednesday, September 21st
    https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/joa02006

     

     

    John Armstrong
    Associate Dean of Students & Director-Off Campus and Commuter Student Services

    Challenge Message – August 2, 2022 – Challenge Introduction

    Hello,

    I hope your summer is going well. Campus is too quiet when students are not here. 🙂

    I am writing to let you know about a great opportunity this fall for ALL student organizations. We are calling it … “The UConn Faith and Expression Challenge” – Ideas developed by Students for Students! This is an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with different student organizations with the goal of developing a plan to learn from each other
    Getting started is easy as 1, 2, 3...

    1. First…Develop your team! Up to 4 student organizations can be considered a team. Teams should consist of groups with varied focus and beliefs. Think about connections at the Involvement Fair on Wednesday, September 7th
    2. The second step is easy…Get to know one another by sharing your guiding principles, beliefs and/or traditions. What does your student organization represent and how does it represent you as a person/UConn student? Ask questions of each other and get acquainted.
    3. 3rd step is to start developing ideas. Begin to think creatively on developing a plan that could be offered to all student organizations to help them work in partnership- Creativity Counts! Funding is available for all teams. The goal- getting groups together to learn from each other for a common purpose.

    The timeline requires that this thought exchange amongst student organizations move quickly to allow ideas to be implemented this year. A Selection/Steering committee formed of university staff, faculty, students, and affiliates will select the winners on October 19, 2022 at a dinner to recognize all semi-finalists.

    More to come on this initiative throughout the month of August.

    Questions-Open Virtual Information Sessions will be held weekly prior to the start of classes:

    Additional Info sessions are being held during the 1st two weeks of classes

    Or feel free to reach out to John Armstrong at j.armstrong@uconn.edu

    See you Soon!

     

    John Armstrong
    Associate Dean of Students & Director-Off Campus and Commuter Student Services

    Contact

    John Armstrong
    j.armstrong@uconn.edu

    Sponsors

    Office of the Provost
    Student Affairs
    Office for Diversity and Inclusion
    Regional Campuses

    all registered student orgs welcome