The Skidmore College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL), part of the department of Campus Life and Engagement in the division of Student Affairs, provides opportunities for students and the wider Skidmore community to develop their religious and spiritual lives, grow in awareness and understanding of others' beliefs and traditions, and collaborate within and between communities toward the common good.
In collaboration with student clubs and other partners we offer enriching dialogue,
meaningful ritual, and enduring friendships among people of all religious backgrounds.
Participants and partners include members of a wide range of religious traditions
as well as those who come from a less defined or explicitly secular perspectives.
The ORSL also acts as a resource for advocacy, inclusion, and education related to
religious and spiritual identity and practice on campus.
The staff is available to Skidmore students, staff and faculty members for spiritual
counseling and pastoral care in times of grief, crisis, transition, and introspection,
as well as in times of celebration and joy. We also help students who are navigating
questions of religious identity, the intersection of religious identity with other
aspects of their lives, their relationship to the traditions of their upbringing or
family, and more. In addition to spiritual counseling, the ORSL can provide resources
for religious ceremonies and rituals, prayer and meditation, and/or referrals to clergy
and leaders of other faith traditions and counseling resources. Our staff is trained
for and experienced in advising students of a range of religious and secular backgrounds.
We also cross-refer and collaborate with the Skidmore Counseling Center.
There is a Baháʼí community in Saratoga Springs that holds regular discussion meetings and celebrations and joins in community outreach and action. When possible, gatherings have historically taken place at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. Skidmore students can contact email@example.com or fill out the ORSL interest form for more information, including interest in starting on-campus gatherings or observing holy days.
Buddhist students at Skidmore connect with their practice and traditions in a range of ways. There is currently no specifically Buddhist club (but one could be started by interested students!). Programming for practices from a range of Buddhist communities and traditions are offered by clubs and different offices. For example, there is a weekly Zen Buddhist meditation gathering most semesters as well as celebrations organized by student clubs and offices. The Skidmore Mindfulness program includes meditation gatherings attended by students who come to the practice of meditation from a variety of backgrounds, including different Buddhist communities. Students can work with ORSL staff and student leaders to connect with temples and communities in the greater Saratoga area. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Listings for some of the local Buddhist communities can be found here.
Christian students at Skidmore often find welcoming communities locally or connect on campus through informal gatherings and clubs including the Christian Fellowship (an Intervarsity chapter) and/or Newman Club (a Catholic interest club). Note that club activity varies by semester and new gatherings and clubs can be started by interested students. The ORSL also hosts events including regular Christian prayer gatherings, special services (previous examples include All Saints, Advent, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Easter), and other special events. When possible, many Christian students choose to attend services in town, and car pools and other transportation assistance are often available. Students looking for other or additional types of Christan life on or off campus should contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form. Additional staff and faculty advisors are also available for students looking to connect with particular traditions or denominations including Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Episcopalian, United Methodist, Presbyterian, UCC, Non-denominational, and more! For a partial listing of congregations in the area see our list of local communities. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form or contact email@example.com to learn more.
Quaker gatherings: Students interested in Quaker worship and community have gathered regularly on campus or traveled to local meetings. Though there is no official Quaker club currently there are biweekly gatherings held on campus in partnership with student leaders and local meetings. These gatherings, listed as "Quaker Gathering" on ORSL schedules, combine unprogrammed Quaker worship with time for fellowship. Staff and faculty advisors are also available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form for more information. Our partners include Easton Friends Meeting and Saratoga Friends Meeting. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Roman Catholic: Skidmore’s Catholic students connect through Newman Club and the local Catholic community, usually either with St. Peter’s or St. Clement's parishes, both accessible from campus. When possible the ORSL can assist students with transportation to Mass. The Newman Club is a student-run club that plans social, religious and community-minded events for its members as well as the entire Skidmore College community. Past Newman Club events have included seasonal retreats, game nights, day trips (ice skating! apple picking!), rosary gatherings, Advent wreath making, dinners, discussions and service projects. . Scheduling of Mass on campus is subject to student interest and commitment as well as the availability of local clergy. Roman Catholic faculty and staff are available as advisers and connections to local communities. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form or contact email@example.com to learn more.
Skidmore Students interested in Hindu life on campus can connect with the ORSL, clubs, and local communities. The Hayat club is a cultural interest and affinity club generally focused on South Asian cultures and communities including the many religious traditions reflected in those communities. As part of their wide range of programming Hayat and the ORSL often work together to plan observances of Hindu holidays, share traditions, and build community. When possible, the ORSL can help students with transportation to Hindu temples in the Albany area. Staff and faculty advisors are also available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form.
Local Hindu Communities (partial list)
Coordinator of Jewish Student Life, Martina Zobel: firstname.lastname@example.org
See the Jewish Student Life Page for more here
Jewish Student Life at Skidmore is rich and varied. See the separate JSL page for more information here. From weekly Shabbat gatherings to High Holy Days to social gatherings and more, there are many ways to get involved. Current clubs related to Jewish Student Life include Skidmore Hillel and Skidmore's chapter of Challah for Hunger. Current students can log into SkidSync to see more about these clubs. Prospective students and families should contact our office for more information and check out the Instagram pages for these clubs for a look at what they've been up to: Skidmore Hillel and Challah for Hunger. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form or contact email@example.com or Coordinator for Jewish Student Life, Martina Zobel (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more.
Muslim students at Skidmore represent a wide range of traditions and ways of observance as well as a number of cultural backgrounds. In the 2017-2018 academic year students decided to establish an official club to continue the efforts of previous students who had started traditions around Eid celebrations, prayers, community outreach, and social gatherings. Interested students, the Skidmore Muslim Students Association (MSA), and Hayat (a student club for those interested in South Asian culture) work with the ORSL and a number of staff and faculty mentors to connect Muslim students, provide support for observances, and to enrich the multifaith life of the wider community.
Students do not need to belong to the MSA or any particular club or group to get involved with Muslim life while at Skidmore. The ORSL and interested students and staff work closely to provide accommodation (and celebration!) during Ramadan and throughout the year. Prayer spaces are available in multiple places on campus including Case Center, the Library, and Wilson Chapel. Most semesters there are opportunities to gather for Jummah on Friday afternoons at Wilson Chapel. Additional prayer spaces and times can be arranged through the ORSL and carpools are often organized to attend masjids off campus.
There is no specific halal meal plan, but our award-wining chefs work closely with students to provide appropriate menus for special occasions and are careful to label ingredients in dining hall offerings. New for Fall 2022: Look for updates about halal meat available in the Dining Hall! This availability is the direct result of student initiative and collaboration between students, dining staff, and faculty advisors. There are also always a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, and non-pork items available.
When possible, the ORSL helps students with transportation to masjids and Muslim gatherings in the Saratoga Springs and Albany area. Skidmore students have also gotten involved with the regional Muslim Soup Kitchen Project and masjid-based efforts to support local refugees and other communities in need. Incoming and current students can contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form.
Local Muslim communities (partial list)
(Also listed under "Christian Life") Students interested in Quaker worship and community have gathered regularly on campus or traveled to local meetings. Though there is no official Quaker club currently there are biweekly gatherings held on campus in partnership with student leaders and local meetings. These gatherings, listed as "Quaker Gathering" on ORSL schedules, combine unprogrammed Quaker worship with time for fellowship. Staff and faculty advisors are also available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form for more information. Our partners include Easton Friends Meeting and Saratoga Friends Meeting. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form or contact email@example.com to learn more.
There is a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Saratoga Springs very close to Skidmore's campus. Though there is not currently an official club for Unitarian Universalist students, one can certainly be formed! The ORSL can also help students organize gatherings and events. Staff and faculty advisors are also available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form for more information. Link to the Saratoga Springs congregation here.
We collaborate with interested clubs and student leaders to organize interfaith events throughout the year and to promote awareness and equity in relation to religious and spiritual diversity at Skidmore. Students interested in getting involved with these efforts should contact us or fill out the interest form. There is no requirement to be part of any religious tradition or claim any specific spiritual identity to get involved!
Events have included things like Interfaith Trivia, stargazing, collaborative fundraising efforts for local causes, holiday tradition exchanges, and more. Initiatives include partnerships with other offices to bring interfaith literacy trainings to campus, and our "Keeping Sacred Time" project that celebrates religious observances throughout the year while increasing awareness of religious diversity and promoting responsible research and information sharing. To help with the Keeping Sacred Time project or just get involved with interfaith efforts at Skidmore look for the Interfaith Café listing on the ORSL schedule or stop by our offices to talk! We promote religious and spiritual diversity as part of an intersectional understanding of identity and diversity at Skidmore.
The categories above do not even come close to describing the range of religious backgrounds and interests of our community. Don't see your group listed here? Let us know! Students from a wide range of traditions find a variety of ways of connecting, building community, and observing religious and spiritual practices that are important to them. Student organizations with cultural interests organize educational events that raise awareness of different faiths and practices and occasionally host observances of religious occasions. Students looking to connect with any of these groups or to start a gathering or event of their own can contact the ORSL, fill out the interest form, or just stop by for a chat.
Looking for a welcoming and affirming community locally? Or interested in resources from your tradition that celebrate and amplify trans and queer identity and experience? The suggestions listed below are just a start. You can also get in touch with Parker Diggory, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, to learn more about local options, on-campus programming, additional resources, or just to chat about navigating the challenges and gifts found at the intersection of queerness, gender diversity, and spirituality.
Some of the local affirming congregations are listed on the Saratoga Pride website (contact us for more!). Groups like HRC, GLAAD, and Beloved Arise also maintain growing lists of resources from a range of traditions.