GW Launches New Center for Interfaith and Spiritual Life

The center advances the goals of the university’s plan to strengthen the community, including a renewed focus on interfaith programming.

June 24, 2024


The George Washington University and its Division for Student Affairs (DSA) have announced the launch of a new Center for Interfaith and Spiritual Life that will begin operating in the fall 2024 semester.

The center, which will be located in the University Student Center, will support and strengthen the university’s religious and philosophical diversity by providing opportunities to engage with spiritual life on campus through interfaith engagement, education, service, worship and meditation.

With a mission similar to an office that used to exist at GW, the new center enhances interfaith and spiritual efforts at GW and aims to promote and support spiritual development, theological reflections, religious tolerance, social justice and social awareness. It also aspires to lead the integration of learning, faith and service through a broad selection of programs and partnerships that engage students, faculty, staff, university leadership and alumni in the understanding and practice of diverse religious identities, values and commitments. 

It will collaborate closely with other university offices and affiliate organizations, including the Multicultural Student Services Center, GW Department of Religion led by Associate Professor Irene Oh, GW Hillel, GW Chabad and the Newman Center. Some of the faiths represented through GW or local spiritual organizations will include Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, Muslim and Presbyterian, and others will be added based on community interest. 

“As a critical part of our ongoing efforts to support and strengthen our community, the establishment of the Center for Interfaith and Spiritual Life will allow for enhanced programming and resources in this important facet of university life,” said Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Colette Coleman. “As we continue to feel the effects of conflict around the world and here on campus, the founding of the center has become imperative.

“The ability for our students—and all GW community members—to find connection and meaning in their own faith, while having opportunities for engagement with those of other faith-based identities, including those who identify as atheist or agnostic, is crucial for upholding our culture of understanding, inclusivity and belonging on campus.”

The establishment of the center advances the goals of GW's “Strengthening Our Community in Challenging Times” plan, which includes a renewed focus on interfaith programming. The center is part of a university-wide initiative to enhance supportive campus environments guided by the foundational principles of free inquiry, intellectual rigor, open dialogue, honest debate and mutual respect.

“The Center for Interfaith and Spiritual Life at GW marks an important milestone in our efforts to build a more inclusive and tolerant community at GW,” said President Ellen M. Granberg. “By fostering a greater sense of belonging through spiritual exploration and education, the center will create new opportunities for our community to engage in meaningful dialogue across faiths, cultures, and beliefs with greater understanding and mutual respect.”

DSA already is recruiting the center’s leadership, which includes a university chaplain—who will oversee the center and champion a multifaith chaplaincy program drawing on GW and D.C. resources—as well as a director to manage the center’s day-to-day operations, programming, communications and outreach.

An affiliate-based council of chaplains will serve as spiritual mentors and offer guidance on religious and spiritual matters. DSA has worked for several months to connect with many faith and religious organizations on campus and throughout the region to engage them in their participation to lead faith-related topics and provide pastoral care or other support through the center. 

Other programming is expected to focus on individual spiritual guidance, dialogue series, service projects, residence hall events, religious holiday celebrations and more.