Holly Shaum, Staff Writer
On Saturday, Dec. 3, Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) hosted an event called “(W)Inter Religious Holidays Festival” to celebrate a wide range of holidays and observances taking place between December and mid-January. The event took place in Knowlton Commons with RSL members educating their fellow Wooster students on Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism and other religions, focusing on different ways to celebrate their respective beliefs and the New Year. After chatting with RSL members about a particular holiday, each visitor would receive a stamp on a card. A student who visited every booth to receive every stamp could enter a raffle for prizes such as a blanket, tea kettle, coloring books, marker sets and more. There was also a crafting table and snacks for attendees. The Voice reached out to student interns at RSL, including Frankie Readshaw ’25, Troy Johnson ’24 , Liz Santiago ’24, Gabriel McCreath ’25 and Alexa Carlozzi ’23, in order to ask a few questions about the role of RSL on campus and the importance of holding an event that showcases a multitude of religious traditions.
Why was it important to host an event showcasing various religious celebrations before the end of the semester?
Frankie Readshaw ’25: It is important to RSL that we do our best to provide all students with equal and fulfilling opportunities to observe their religious and spiritual traditions. A large part of that is making sure students know their traditions are appreciated and seen. The (W)inter Religious Holidays Festival allows us to create a space where students and the community can appreciate, interact and learn about 10 different religious and spiritual traditions. This event coincided with the end of the semester, but the primary reason that we chose to have the Holidays Festival in December was due to the large number of holidays, across many different traditions, that occur during this time of the year.
What do you hope attendees took away from the festival?
Frankie Readshaw ’25: To paraphrase our mission statement, RSL aims to provide opportunities for reflection, discernment, dialogue and community. We hope that anyone and everyone, regardless of their religious/spiritual identity or lack thereof, found the event to be a meaningful opportunity to reflect on, interact, or connect with any of the religions, holidays or communities represented.
Liz Santiago ‘24: We hope people take this event as an example of the infinite ways Religious and Spiritual Life is accessible and committed to unifying various parts of the campus community.
Gabriel McCreath ’25: We want people to personally engage and experience different religions in a real way.
Troy Johnson ’24: We hope that people were able to learn more about religious and secular holidays in a way that feels organic. We wanted to create a space where they could gain understanding without the pressure of needing to know everything.
Alexa Carlozzi ’23: We hope everyone gained new insight into the beautiful similarities and differences between holidays and religions. We also hope everyone saw how important and special these traditions are for many people on campus and all over the world.
How can students get involved in RSL during the upcoming semester?
Frankie Readshaw ’25: We have already begun the brainstorming process for our events next semester, so an excellent way to get involved is to keep an eye out for posters or check our Instagram (@rsl_wooster) for updates. Chaplain Guzmán also has weekly hours for “Chats with the Chaplain,” where you can talk to her about anything and everything. Reservations for that are on our “Inside Wooster” page.
Liz Santiago ’24: Be on the lookout for any emails from Erin Guzmán or RSL, as we frequently encourage other student organizations to join our activities!
Alexa Carlozzi ’23: RSL events are a wonderful way to interact with and learn about religion, spirituality and a multitude of other topics in an intersectional and diverse manner. Our events are open to everyone and we hope you check them out!