Rising sophomore Benjamin Collinger ‘19 has been tasked with “Developing a Religious Diversity Profile of San Antonio,” which also is serving as the title of his research funded by the Mellon Initiative. Collinger’s research advisor, religion professor Simran Jeet Singh, said the inspiration for the project formed in collaboration with the city of San Antonio’s Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO). While policymakers recognize that San Antonio has a great deal of religious diversity, they aren’t familiar with the wide array of communities and their leaders. This project gathered qualitative data on San Antonio’s faith communities and built relationships local leaders. This effort is particularly important because diversity practitioners “can’t address major issues until we understand what San Antonio really looks like,” Singh said.
|Benjamin Collinger '19 attends and interfaith dialogue event at the Oblate School of Theology.|
When asked about the importance of this research, Singh and Collinger agreed that it has never been more relevant. They explain that faith communities are often the most active vehicles for their constituents’ civic involvement and impact all sectors of our city. Stronger relationships with local religious leaders and communities help the government to uphold its non-discrimination ordinance and inform its efforts to proactively end institutional discrimination within government and around the city.
|Collinger plans on studying anthropology and international studies during his time at Trinity.|
Collinger was quick to note his appreciation for Trinity’s dedication to research and the Mellon Initiative. He hopes to continue this project and see the city implement its suggestions to proactively further anti-discrimination efforts as well as diversity and inclusion programming.