MADISON – Executive Director of University of Wisconsin – Hillel Greg Steinberger says he thinks students are living in a time of increased tension — something he wants to work toward easing with a new seminar.
“I think people feel a raw discomfort at the moment in society, where there’s this polarization, or there’s this intensity everywhere we turn about race, or ethnicity or immigration,” Steinberger said, according to a news release.
With the aim of bringing students with different backgrounds together, Steinberger reached out to the new Center of Religion and Global Citizenry to form a five session seminar on race, faith and civic responsibility called the “Necessity of Now.” After the seminar portion, the students will go on a trip to Washington, D.C. March 7-9 to visit social justice and civil rights sites, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The goal is for the seminars to be a space where students can have peer-to-peer discussions about important issues, such as civic responsibility, race, religion, social action, being an ally and how these things interact with personal identity, according to the University Communications department.
While UW Hillel focuses on serving Jewish students on campus, Steinberger said he thought it was important to expand this program to all students, so that it can be about bringing students together. He said you learn more about yourself when you interact with someone who’s different than you.