Online and physically distant opportunities:
Beginning in the Spring of 2020 many of the opportunities and practices described below became available in online and other distance-based formats. Even as we plan for future opportunities to gather in person we are committed to fostering participation by those who are unable to join us on campus or in physical gatherings. Please contact the ORSL if you have questions about participating remotely or any other accommodations.
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 interesection 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. Skidmore students can contact email@example.com for more information.
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. Clubs including the Asian Cultural Awareness club and International Students Union often host events around observances and cultural practices that represent a range of Buddhist practice. Incoming and current students can fill out the ORSL Interest form to learn more. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christian students at Skidmore often find welcoming communities locally or connect on campus through informal gatherings and clubs including the Christian Fellowship (and Intervarsity chapter) and/or Newman Club (a Catholic interest club). The ORSL also hosts events including regular Christian prayer gatherings, an Ash Wednesday service, and other special events. When possible, many Christian students choose to attend services in town, and car pools 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 advisors from particular traditions 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.
Quaker gatherings: Students interested in Quaker worship and community have gathered regularly on campus or travelled to local meetings. Though there is no official Quaker club currently the ORSL is happy to help arrange and advertside these gatherings. Staff and faculty advisors are also available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form for more information.
Roman Catholic: Skidmore’s Catholic students connect through participation with the Newman Club and through participation in 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, days of reflection, dinners, discussions and service projects. The Newman Club and the ORSL work to offer opportunities for personal spiritual growth, encourage participation in the celebration of the Eucharist and other sacraments, strive to raise consciousness on social issues and promote hands-on involvement in community service. 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 informal advisers and connections to local communities.
Skidmore Students interested in Hindu life on campus often connect informally and with clubs and local communitites. The "Hayat" club is a cultural interest and affinity club generally focused on South Asian cultures and communities. Hayat and the ORSL 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 aslo available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form.
Local Hindu Communities (partial list)
Coordinator of Jewish Student Life, Martina Zobel: email@example.com
Clubs: Skidmore College supports student-led clubs with a wide range of interests. Students who do not find the club they are looking for are encouraged to talk to our staff about creating new programming or starting new groups. Current clubs related to Jewish Student Life includ 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
See the Jewish Student Life Page for more here
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 and Middle Eastern 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. Wilson Chapel is the most common physical space used for prayer gatherings and prayer rugs are available on the hallway shelves. 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. There are always a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, and non-pork items available. See the "Local Communities" section of the ORSL website for information about masjids in the area. When possible, the ORSL helps students with transportation to masjids 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 travelled to local meetings. Though there is no official Quaker club currently the ORSL is happy to help arrange and advertside these gatherings. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form for more information.
There is a Unitarian congregation in Saratoga Springs very close to Skidmore's campus. Though there is not currently an official club for Unitarian an interested students, one can certainly be formed! The ORSL can help students organize gatherings and events. Staff and faculty advisors are also available. Contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form for more inforamtion. 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. We promote religious and spiritual diversity as part of an intersectional understanding of idneity 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 of their own can contact the ORSL or fill out the interest form.