Campus Ministry is working to create a student-led advisory board for its 12 student religious organizations.

The proposed Campus Ministry Student Forum is the result of conversations last spring between Managing Director of Campus Ministry Andrew Johnson, Interreligious Coordinator Lisa Pannucci, former Georgetown University Student Association President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and GUSA Director of Student Space Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14).

The forum would be an advisory board composed of the presidents of Campus Ministry’s 12 component organizations, with an executive committee elected by the forum.

The current plan alters last spring’s proposal by removing chaplains and other administrators from the advisory board — a feature that led the GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee to reject some of Campus Ministry’s request for funding in April.

“We would not be requesting funding in the future. The students in the advisory board would be approaching GUSA instead,” Johnson said of Campus Ministry. “In the new model, chaplains serve as a resource, but not as voting members of the advisory board.”

Because the proposal is still in its early stages, Johnson and Pannucci are unsure of the timeline for the forum.

“At this point, we’re sort of packaging something and handing it off to the students,” Johnson said. “A lot of the timeline will depend on how students will choose to proceed with this process.”

Pannucci agreed and said she hopes that student leaders will make progress on establishing the forum this month.

Jewish Student Association President Sapir Yarden (SFS ’15) said that she met with Campus Ministry leaders at the end of August. JSA was the last of the 12 groups to sign on to the proposal after concerns about confusing their group’s focus on community building and social life with Campus Ministry’s religious and education focus arose.

“I was surprised but also pleased to see that my ideas were taken into consideration,” she said. “I think there’s still a long way to go in terms of what will be implemented but … it allows for better dialogue and more transparency, which was one of our biggest concerns.”

While the Interfaith Student Council was created close to 10 years ago as the advisory board of Campus Ministry that organization has evolved into a programming board during the past few years. Interfaith Council President Aamir Hussain (COL ’14) said the proposed forum would be an opportunity for the council to continue its focus on events but also its work catering to students without a specific faith tradition.

“We will still be able to maintain that kind of identity where traditionally we have a lot of people that are atheist or agnostic so anyone can feel welcome here,” Hussain said.

All students are invited to attend forum meetings.

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