Tue, 01/10/2012

One of my favorite memories in my four years at Wesleyan is the annual Fast-a-Thon and Ramadan Banquet. A former IFYC alum, Nadeem Modan, came up with the idea of a Fast-a-Thon to educate others about the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and to raise money for a local food pantry. The idea is simple: fast for a day, and donate the meal points and dollars you would have spent on food to those in greater need.

I got involved in the Fast-a-Thon on a total whim. After getting an email asking for Fast-a-Thon volunteers as a sophomore, I decided to see what exactly this event was about, and from that first meeting, I was hooked. As I attempted to work through my own spiritual identity, interfaith work was something I could really believe in. Something about working for a common cause across different traditions, both religious and non-religious, spoke to me, and in retrospect it was the best introduction I could have asked for into the world of interfaith cooperation.

After that first meeting, I became heavily involved in both the Fast-a-Thon, and the work of the Interfaith Justice League as a whole. Last year, I was the first non-Muslim student to spearhead the organization of the event, which was an incredibly stressful, overwhelming, rewarding, and unforgettable experience.

The Fast-a-Thon has held such an important place in the last four years that I knew I wanted to go back to Wes for the event. To attend the Fast-a-Thon as a former organizer and a recent alum was surreal: the set-up of the tables up, the colorful decorations, and the smell of Indian food for breaking the fast brought back a whirlwind of memories, but this time I got to witness it as a part of the audience, rather than an organizer. Being at the Fast-a-Thon made me realize just how much the event has grown, and just how powerful interfaith cooperation can be in creating real change. Interfaith cooperation can result in concrete changes that make a real, tangible difference in our world. Over the course of a few weeks, Wesleyan students raised over 13,000 dollars for the Fast-a-Thon this year, which will feed hundreds of families in Middletown. Whether students are Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, or something else, the Fast-a-Thon presents an opportunity for people to come together and take action for a common cause.

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