Better Together’s My Sister’s Place Fundraiser

Happy Friday! We hope you all are looking forward to the weekend. As we enter March, Better Together has a new project to share with you all. Currently, interns Saraya Abner and Sam Houtchens are leading a fundraiser in support of My Sister’s Place.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with My Sister’s Place, MSP is a domestic violence agency in Athens, OH that serves the Athens, Hocking, and Vinton Counties. MSP provides a 24/7 hotline, outreach counseling, and an emergency shelter. If you look on MSP’s website (, you can view the organization’s current needs, which ranges from clothing to toiletries to cooking and cleaning supplies.

MSP has requested that Better Together raises at least $500 to purchase a cookware set. So far, Better Together has raised $210 towards this goal. However, if you view the GoFundMe page for the fundraiser, you will notice that we have set our optimal goal at $2000. Given that Better Together functions under the umbrella of United Campus Ministry, we are aware of the trials and tribulations that come with organizing, supporting, and fundraising towards a nonprofit’s efforts. In hopes to support My Sister’s Place on an organizational level, such as in providing funds towards MSP’s support staff and internship program, we intend to exceed our original goal of $500.

This is where you come in. We are asking friends, family, supporters of UCM, and the Athens and OU communities to donate towards our fundraiser and to help us promote, share, retweet, blog about, and talk about this fundraiser everywhere. You can find our fundraiser here:

We thank you for reading, for investing your time into supporting UCM and Better Together, and of course, for donating to our My Sister’s Place fundraiser!

Better Together’s Multicultural History Tour

Hello, all! Join us at the Multicultural Genealogical Center in Chesterhill, Ohio for Better Together’s Multicultural History Tour on October 20th from 12 PM-5:30 PM! We will be learning about the center’s work in documenting the history of multicultural and multiracial communities in Southeast Ohio while sprucing up and organizing the center’s space, collections, and grounds.

The Multicultural History Tour serves as the first Better Together service day of the 2018-2019 school year. After a successful eighth annual 9/11 Interfaith Peace Walk, UCM interns Samantha Houtchens and Saraya Abner look forward to introducing new programming during the Better Together campaign that engages students in educational, service, and community-building work to build relationships across faith divides, celebrate all faith and philosophical worldviews, and express common values.

If you want to take a break from that Homecoming football game to learn more about the history of people and communities of color in Southeast Ohio, or if you are interested in becoming involved with the Better Together campaign, please reach out to or Transportation and a light snack will be provided for the tour, but volunteers are being accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis, so RSVP soon!

We’re excited to be sending four OU students and Campus Minister Evan Young to the Interfaith Youth Core Leadership Institute in Chicago August 11 – 13, 2017! 

Interfaith Leadership Institutes (ILIs) equip undergraduate students and educators with the skills to engage diverse faiths and worldviews to build the interfaith movement on their college campuses.

At the ILI:
  • Undergraduate students train to be interfaith leaders who build relationships across identities, tell powerful stories to bridge divides, and learn about ways to mobilize their campuses.
  • Educators (campus professional staff, faculty, and graduate students) share best practices about how to best support student leaders, advance interfaith cooperation strategically across campus, and network with other educators.
  • All participants get a chance to build relationships, network, and share best practices with other people from across the country who are passionate about interfaith work.

 With such dynamic and timely sessions on topics including “Engaging Religious Difference” and “Navigating Challenges of Interfaith Work”,  they’re sure to return with exciting ideas to implement through Better Together at Ohio University this fall. 

Some of our funding for travel expenses fell through so we’re hoping to raise $2500 to cover the cost. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of any amount at our You Caring fundraising campaign or through the donate button on the UCM webpage. 

Ohio University students Ansam Al Harthy and Aspen Wilson, and UCM Director Melissa Wales attended the Interfaith Youth Core Leadership Institute in Atlanta on January 27. 
We appreciate the support of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program at OU.
Better Together at OU meets weekly, Thursdays at 10:30am at UCM. For information on getting involved, email

Come Walk With Us…

Come Walk With Us…..

Fifteen years ago, a horrific act of violence changed the world for all of us. This year on September 11, the sixth annual 9/11 Interfaith Peace Walk will remind us again that the world is still changing, and we can all take steps to ensure that it changes for the better.
The walk will begin at 7pm on Sunday, September 11, in front of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on University Terrace, and will end with a candlelight vigil and song at the Islamic Center on Stewart Street. In between, it will thread through the OU campus and uptown Athens, passing many of the faith communities that co-sponsor the walk. As in past years, co-sponsoring faith communities and organizations are bringing some candles to share at the end of the walk, but participants are encouraged to bring candles to the vigil if they have them. People with mobility concerns who wish to participate in the walk should contact UCM.
This year, for the first time, the Peace Walk will be preceded by an interfaith prayer service at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. The service will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the church, and will end before the start time of the Peace Walk. The Reverend Deborah Woolsey, priest-in-charge at Good Shepherd, hopes the service will offer people of all faiths an opportunity to worship together and reflect on the shared value of peace. “We’re inviting faith communities to share with us a prayer from their tradition, to participate in the service by leading their prayer, and we’re inviting singers to come together in an interfaith choir for the event,” she said. (To participate in the prayer service and/or the choir, contact Rev. Woolsey at the church, 740-593-6877.)
Co-sponsors of this year’s Peace Walk include Better Together at Ohio University, a student movement to engage people of all faith traditions and philosophical and ethical orientations in action for the common good as a means of building community and trust across religious divisions. “Especially during this election year, with all the inflamed rhetoric and fear, we need to create opportunities for people to gather, meet one another, and act on beliefs they share,” said Better Together Campaign co-coordinator Kelsey Gerard, an OU junior.
Gerard says the march also marks the start of this year’s Better Together campaign at Ohio University. This year’s Better Together campaign will also include a watershed cleanup on October 23 and other program and fundraising efforts currently in the planning stages. Students interested in working on the campaign should “like” the Better Together at Ohio University Facebook page, or email ucm@midohio.twcbc.comto get connected.
Other cosponsors include the Muslim Student Association, First United Methodist Church, International Student Union, Hillel at Ohio University, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors, Christ Lutheran Church, Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Ohio University LGBT Center, and Athens First Presbyterian Church.

For more information on the Peace Walk and other upcoming interfaith events, email Rev. Evan Young, Campus Minister at United Campus Ministry, at
UCM sent five Ohio University students to the Interfaith Youth Core Leadership Institute in August 2016! Look for Kentisha, Aleksandra, Kelsey, Robin and Kaitlan (not pictured) to do important interfaith work on campus this fall – starting with our Annual 9-11 Interfaith Peace Walk, Sunday, 9/11, 7pm at the Church of the Good Shepherd (54 University Terrace).

This award goes to a student group that has left a substantial mark on their campus and community this year and best demonstrates the power of interfaith partnerships. 
Ohio University made a major impact this year by working hard to recognize and meet the needs of both their campus and their community. They brought the diverse experiences of students of various religious backgrounds to the forefront of campus life through holding a “Campus Conversation” that introduced the concept of speedfaithing to their campus. Then they took those conversations one step further by offering a similar speedfaithing program to train campus staff on how to incorporate interfaith into their professional development as advisors and allies. The Campus Conversation is now a regular event series that creates a space for students and staff to continue to engage in interfaith dialogue on campus.
Better Together at OU has also played a major role in organizing events such as an annual 9/11 Interfaith Peace Walk, which brings faculty, staff, students and the greater community together for a time of unity across lines of difference. By focusing on the shared values of service and community found in so many religious and philosophical traditions, Better Together at OU also works to create an environment that emphasizes the importance of engagement with their community.
For the last several years they have focused a number of events surrounding issues of water pollution and food security for lower-income people in their area, and their interfaith volunteers hauled thousands of pounds of garbage from streams in Wayne National Forest this past fall. They also sponsor regular community service and outreach events like stream cleanups and Saturday lunches, engaging over 800 students throughout the county in their interfaith service work.


Peggy’s stories from Iraq, West Bank, and Nigeria of courageous interfaith collaborating, difussion tensions, working for peace and reconciliation, advocating for and helping others of differing religious or ethnic groups, can inspire us with ideas of how we might work at interfaith relationships and cooperation right here!

We’ll also be accepting cash donations for Athens Books for Prisoners at the event.

Find out how you can get involved with interfaith education and community building right here with Better Together at Ohio University!

Sponsored by Better Together, SAC and UCM.

Fall Semester Wrap Up

Fall Semester Wrap-up

Some highlights of Better Together at OU Fall Semester include the Annual 9-11 Interfaith Peace Walk, where hundreds of students and community members from many religious and nonreligious backgrounds walked for peace, including a stop at Hillel for a recitation of the Mourners Kaddish and concluding with a candlelight vigil at the Islamic Center. We also organized another environmental clean up with Monday Creek Watershed Restoration Project and hauled thousands of pounds of trash and tires from the Wayne National Forest. We ended the semester with a cosponsored panel discussion with International Student Union on Interfaith Peace and Coexistence and a study break right before finals — All Faiths Have Finals. We’re looking forward to sending 2 new students and one returning student to the Interfaith Youth Core Leadership Institute in Atlanta in January and doing even MORE awesome interfaith organizing. Stay tuned!
ISU – Better Together Interfaith Peace Panel.
Better Together Watershed Clean Up