Although I do not consider myself to be a religious individual, I do find myself to be extremely passionate about helping others. In my college career I have had the privilege to learn and partipate in organizations and events that help with both international and local issues. Over this time I have learned a lot about the missunderstandings that lead to global conflicts and atrocities. I have learned these past three years that my goal in life is to work with international human rights issues, and I feel a strong pull toward Africa specifically. I have had the privledge to be a part of organizations such as Invisible Children, UNICEF, and Amnesty International. I also got to experience local poverty issues first hand when I interned for Good Works’ Walk for the Homeless. Through these I have found myself to be very sensitive and open-minded to many different people.
Although I don’t participate in a religious practice, I always remain open to learning about different affiliations that are out there. I think it’s important for them to be able to properly communicate to eliminate missunderstandings and conflicts, and therefore act collectively to do good for those in need. I find it ridiculous that there are so many wars that go on relating to religious differences.
I wanted to be a part of the interfaith movement because I’ve seen first hand, even in my own family, how religion can tear people apart.
If a diverse group of people can work together, share their beliefs and experiences, and learn from each other a lot more would be accomplished. An overarching theme among different religions is to follow what you believe in to give you morals and guidelines for how to be a good person in the eyes of what you might be worshipping. That is a great theme. That common interest should be remembered as a starting point for how to colaborate with those who may be different from yourself.
My vision for Ohio University would be to see people learning from one another, and becoming more open minded. From there they can take what they’ve learned and the new relationships they build to make a more effective change in our world for the better both at a local and international level.
MaryBeth Bognar is a senior majoring in communication studies with a focus on public advocacy. She serves as Programming Chair of the Interfaith Steering Committee at OU, and participates in Invisible Children, UNICEF, Amnesty International, and Good Works’ Walk for the Homeless.