Elon University’s Global Neighborhood is well on its way to becoming a reality on the college campus. This multi-faith center, which began being constructed in Spring 2012, is being developed with a specific goal in mind: to give students a comfortable space to practice their own religion, as well as learn of others’ religious and cultural views (Multi-faith Center). The buildings will be located on Elon campus, in the school’s Academic Village, resting on Lake Mary Nell.
The Multi-faith Center will be the sixth pavilion in Elon’s Academic Village, sitting alongside other centers including the Honors and International pavilions. All of these residential learning communities have a common objective of further engaging students outside of the classroom. The Global Neighborhood, in particular, will include numerous language-learning communities, all designed to stimulate students’ interest and involvement in different cultures and religions. These different communities will include La Casa de Español, La Maison Francaise, The Japanese House, La Casa Italiana, and Deutsches Haus, each focusing on the different customs of these societies. In the words of benefactor and Elon alum Edna Truitt Noiles, the mission for the center is “to enable Elon students to learn about their own and other faiths and to live lives of reconciliation”, (Multi-faith Center). With a variety of different cultures coexisting in one place, one can hope that Noiles’ aspiration will be a success.
The Multi-Faith Center is a faculty-in-residence program, in which a broad variety of faculty will work closely with the students living in these residence halls. By “interacting with students in informal settings”, and “providing informal academic advising”, faculty will develop stronger relationships with their students (Teacher Scholar in Residence). Students will gain an intimate relationship with the faculty involved in the program, and learn about their backgrounds and beliefs.
The new residential area will be 15,000 square feet, contain six buildings, and house roughly 600 students (Elon Commitment Construction Update). There will be a 30,000 square-foot commons building, which will hold the Isabella Cannon International Centre, (Elon’s focal resource for all international activity), as well as high-tech classrooms, faculty offices, study rooms, and other spaces for large assemblies (Elon Commitment Construction Update). The facilities will include a mediation room, sacred religious space, conference rooms, a learning lab, and an ablution room. A budding outdoor meditation garden will rest between the Multi-faith Center and the Gray Pavilion (Numen Lumen Pavilion).
There are still multiple donation opportunities for benefactors who wish to invest in the Global Neighborhood. The building itself, sacred space, multi-purpose rooms, meditation room, conference room, classrooms, and ablution room are all in need of further funding (Multi-faith Center). Overall, there are about 2,100,000 dollars worth of investments that are available for naming opportunities (Multi-faith Center). Benefactors can be anyone from Elon alum, to people of the surrounding Elon or Burlington area.
The Multi-faith Center will not only be a place of religious tolerance for it’s residence, but also a group of buildings to be used by the entire Elon community. An international café, where all students and faculty are welcome to assemble and relax between classes, is being built as part of the Global Neighborhood (The Plan by Area). There will be a Global Neighborhood dining hall as well, overlooking the view of Lake Mary Nell (Neighborhood Dining Hall). The Multi-faith Center will hold lectures and classes such as the Global Experience for all incoming first-years in its facilities (The Plan by Area). Campus officials hope that the entire campus will enjoy the center.
The center is said to open in early 2013 and benefactors are very excited (Arcleri). Alum and benefactors alike hope that the center will achieve its goal of creating a tolerant and peaceful learning space. Janet Fuller, the Elon University chaplain, stated that, “ultimately we need to live together in order to understand each other” (Arcleri). This Global Neighborhood is being built in hopes of doing just that, bringing students together to understand one another.
Arcleri, Kate. "$4M Multifaith Elon U." <http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/print-edition/2011/11/25/4m-15000-sqft-multifaith-center.html>.
"Elon Commitment Construction Update." <http://www.elon.edu/e-web/administration/president/strategicplan2020/elon_commitment_facilities.xhtml>.
"Elon University Global Neighborhood Dining Hall." <http://ids-inc.net/project_details.php?id=4646>.
"Multi-faith Center." <http://www.elon.edu/e-web/ever_elon/preserving_campus/multifaithcenter.xhtml>.
"Numen Lumen Pavilion." <http://www.elon.edu/e-net/Note.aspx?id=960790>.
"The Plan by Area: North Neighborhood." <http://www.elon.edu/e-web/administration/president/strategicplan2020/residential_plan/global_neighborhood.xhtml>.
"Teacher Scholar in Residence." <http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/residence_life/staff/facultyinresidence.xhtml>.