Mission and Vision

The Interfaith Student Council (IFSC) supports and facilitates activities for students from a variety of worldview and faith traditions.

The council aims to strengthen both academic achievement and student engagement that:

  1. widens exposure to religious and cultural diversity;
  2. deepens knowledge of individual and other worldview perspectives;
  3. strengthens leadership, diplomacy, and inclusion skills; and
  4. encourages interpersonal engagement and interfaith action. 

2021-22 Interfaith Student Council


photo of Yana Andersen
2021
Yana Andersen
Co-President

Yana Andersen
Co-President 2021-22

Yana Andersen is a senior at UVU studying Political Science, with an emphasis in Peace and Justices Studies. With interests in conflict transformation, Interfaith work provides the opportunity to participate in peacebuilding right in her own community. Growing up in a multifaith household, interfaith work is a cause close to her heart, and she hopes to create positive interactions and help build relationships across lines of difference. Yana loves music, dancing, any activity that involves the water, and laughing with her family and friends.

photo of Dylan Christensen
2021
Dylan Christensen
Co-President

Dylan Christensen
Co-President 2021-22

Dylan is a senior in Exercise Science at UVU. He has been involved with several organizations on campus including UVUSA as a senator, working with UVU Athletics, and now participating as a UVU Interfaith Student Council member. Dylan grew up in Utah County, and then served a two year Latter-Day Saint mission in Jamaica and the Bahamas from 2016-2018. In his free time he likes to hang out at the park, play pickleball, and most of all play soccer. Dylan joined interfaith work because he believes that there is a peaceful and productive way to unify all groups of people. He works at developing relationships and finding common ground with others to achive a positive goal.

Owen Clapp
2021
Owen Clapp
Council Member

Owen Clapp
Council Member 2021-22

Owen Clapp is a Sophomore at UVU majoring in Spanish, serving on the Interfaith Forum Committee. Outside of Interfaith Student Council, Owen is involved in the UVU/BYU Airforce ROTC program,doing the Honor Guard auxiliary program. He identifies as a Latter-day Saint who believes all scripture that inspires one to draw closer to God is from Him. Owen enjoys running, making Native American beadwork, watching anime/cartoons, video games and reading about/discussing religion with people in his free time. He has had a journey of self-discovery, having been a part of four official religions along with identifying as syncretic for a short time. Through these changes, Owen has met various people of faith and had discussions with them while sharing and differing in worldview. These conversations and the appreciation for different faiths, along with better understanding the spectrum of belief, has led him to Interfaith work.

photo of Kyle Christensen
2021
Kyle Christensen
Council Member

Kyle Christensen
Council Member 2021-22

Kyle is a senior in UVU's Aviation Management program. He also serves as a member of the Utah Naitonal Guard and is working towards a flight comission post-graduation. Kyle's interest and growing passion for Interfaith started from relationships with friends from countries and faiths acoss the world through missionary work and military travel. Kyle hopes that conversations about faith as a common value among diverse people and groups can be used to better our local and global communities.

Outside of school Kyle loves being outdoors; whether on walks with his wife, skiing, moutain biking or backpacking with family. He also loves a good book, cooking and sharing Korean food, and movies that make you cry.

a photo of Tayler Fearn
2021
Tayler Fearn
Council Member

Tayler Fearn
Co-President 2021-22

Tayler grew up in Vancouver, Canada in a family that identified as members of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. When she was 11 years old her parents divorced causing her to turn to God amidst that difficulty. When high school came around she found herself to be the only person of her faith in her high school of 1,300 students. She soon developed friendships with those who were faithful to their own religious tradition. This was an eye-opening experience where she saw first hand how interfaith can enrich and strengthen your own religious identity.

Tayler is here at UVU majoring in biotechnology. She plans on going to medical school and becoming a pediatric opthalmologist. In her free time she loves running, reading books and eating crumble

photo of Taylor Melamed
2021
Taylor Melamed
Council Member

Taylor Melamed
Co-President 2021-22

Taylor Melamed is a Senior at UVU majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. He was born and raised in an Iranian American Jewish household, where the traditions and values of his ancestral faith were emphasized. Taylor grew up in Los Angeles, California, with a fraternal twin sister, dogs, and two loving parents.  

Taylor moved to Utah to continue his education and fell in love with the atmosphere at UVU. UVU’s mission statement of come as you are really rang true to him, and he immersed himself in extracurricular activities, like UVUSA’s Public Relations committee. In his free time, Taylor can be found playing the guitar, hanging out with friends, listening to music, or watching Sports. Taylor is also incredibly proud to be Transgender.  

photo of Brodie Mitchell
2021
Brodie Mitchell
Council Member

Brodie Mitchell
Council Member 2021-22

Brodie is a Junior at UVU majoring in Philosophy and Anthropology while also minoring in Religious Studies. Brodie’s current philosophical obsessions include the experience of religious conversion, the tug of war practitioners of faith perform between their secular identity(s) and their religious ones, and how religious communities challenge secular notions of what a community is.

As far as belief goes, Brodie was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but has been inactive in the church for two years now. Outside of being raised in the LDS Church, Brodie has found appreciation, or holy envy, for Zen Buddhist meditation, the Jewish belief that human beings have a responsibility to repair the world, and the animist belief that all living things have a soul of some kind. While on the council, Brodie hopes to find more things to be envious of in other faith traditions as he engages more religious communities.

photo of Gabriel Toscano
2021 
Gabriel Toscano
Council Member

Gabriel Toscano
Council Member 2021-22

Gabriel Toscano graduated from Utah Valley University with a B.S. in Philosophy and a B.A. in Integrated Studies with emphases on Religious Studies and Spanish. Now pursuing an M.S. in Computer Science, he is interested in the intersection of philosophy and science.

As an undergrad, volunteering at the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions provided a unique opportunity to engage with religious diverse outside of the classroom. From then on, he has been a recurring member of UVU's Interfaith Student Council as well as a coach for Interfaith Youth Core--a national organization promoting interfaith leadership on college campuses. Seeing the need for pluralistic approaches to interreligious dialogue and harmonious societies, he advocates for understanding and collaboration across lines of difference. During his free time, Gabriel likes to hike, mountain bike, play guitar and piano, as well as cook and share food from around the world.

photo of Melanie Wolfe
2021
Melanie Wolfe
Council Member

Melanie Wolfe
Council Member 2021-22

Melanie Wolfe is a senior at UVU majoring in Family Science and will go into Social Work. Outside of the Interfaith Council, Melanie is a member of the Multicultural Student Council, Family Science Club President, and Presidential Intern. She identifies as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is second generation in this religion since both her parents converted when they were in their teens. Melanie has been a member of this church her entire life but had her own experiences of following this path for herself through her church mission.

She joined Interfaith because she believes that understanding different world views is essential for progress. Coming together dispite our difference is very important to her, and Interfaith embodies that. In her spare time, Melanie loves to watch horror movies, documentaries, go dancing, and hang out with her husband and her pup Blu.


Council Activities

The Interfaith Student Council will organize and participate in the following activities during the school-year:

  • Interfaith Forums
  • Fall Retreat
  • Excursions
  • Better-Together-Days
  • Spring Break Interfaith Excursion to NYC
  • Interfaith Breakfast with the UVU President
  • Recruiting events

Membership and Benefits

The IFSC will consist of ten members who can 1) effectively engage with diverse religious and ethical voices across campus and 2) demonstrate effective interfaith leadership skills and habits. Each member will help coordinate select IFSC committees and recruit other UVU students for volunteer service on these committees.

Who can apply? 

Any UVU student is welcome to volunteer for an IFSC committee. IFSC members, however, apply for the IFSC through a competitive process. In order to serve on the council each member must:

  • be currently enrolled as a UVU student;
  • be able to participate in the annual Fall Retreat
  • be able to demonstrate organizational, coordination, and diplomacy skills;
  • be able to serve 6 hours per week in activities related to the IFSC; and
  • be available to meet weekly on Wednesday from 4:00-6:00 pm

Interfaith Student Council Application

 

Any UVU student who can meet the above criteria may apply for the council. Benefits of service include:

  1. eligibility to participate in the annual IFSC Excursion,
  2. close interaction with religious leaders and scholars of religion,
  3. free registration to related conferences and workshops
  4. other activities and support related to the Interreligious Engagement

Expectations

Communication: It is very important that lines of transparent and timely communication remain open between members of the council, co-presidents, and advisers. 

Attendance at meetings: Face-to-face interaction with fellow council members is critical to our mission and success. Each member of the council brings strengths and perspectives not held by others. 

Attendance at events: Over the course of the academic year the council will plan and carry out high profile events open to UVU students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. These include Interfaith Forums, excursions, guest lecturers, and service opportunities, to name a few.

Promotion & Recruiting: Members of the council work across campus to widen exposure to diversity, deepen knowledge of religious and ethical perspectives, and strengthen diplomacy and inclusion skills. Each member of the council should promote and recruit people to events and encourage participation in subcommittees and working groups.

Interreligious Understanding: As part of council participation, students will be assigned readings, videos, etc. de- signed to strengthen religious literacy and provide the tools necessary for interfaith leadership.