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Religious observances in our multi-faith community

Tiffany Steinwert, dean for religious and spiritual life, addresses the campus community about the importance of supporting the diverse faith traditions at Stanford and offers tools to help identify when academic and work calendars coincide with religious holy days.

Dear Stanford community,

Stanford University is a global community comprised of people from many diverse faith traditions and worldviews. Understanding the importance of spiritual life to many in our community, the university seeks to support students, faculty and staff in celebrating holidays of significance to them.

The CIRCLE, located in the Old Union building, is a safe haven for diversity, worship, ritual, meditation, reflection, spiritual and intellectual growth. (Image credit: Colleen Hallagan Preuninger)

Some religious observances affect the ability of community members to participate in work, classes and activities because of specific requirements associated with those days. Practices and observances vary between and among faith communities. Some may request time away to observe, while others may seek accommodations for a day of fasting, a religious service or a time of prayer while at work. No one should be disadvantaged because of a religious practice.

We know instructors, managers and other colleagues want to be mindful of these events and plan classroom and work schedules accordingly. The Office for Religious & Spiritual Life (ORSL) offers tools to help identify times when academic and work calendars coincide with religious holy days.

The ORSL website lists some of the major holy days observed by the Stanford Associated Religions, a group of 30 religious student organizations on campus, for the remainder of 2021 as well as the first half of 2022.

In January, we will begin sharing updates in Stanford Report highlighting some of the major religious observances occurring during the upcoming academic quarter and offer insights on how to support classmates and colleagues.

In addition, ORSL offers this comprehensive, downloadable calendar, which includes a broader list of observances. This calendar can be integrated into Outlook calendars for easy access.

As you can see, some are well known, while others garner less attention. But many, if not all, likely hold significance for some members of our beautifully diverse community.

The Office for Religious & Spiritual Life is always available to consult should you have any questions or concerns.

Tiffany Steinwert
Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life