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The Vermont Connection

Abstract

As student affairs professionals it is axiomatic that social identity plays a significant role in the lives of students. In college, many students enter the most intense stages of their developing social identities and, within the profession, we provide space for students to discuss and explore. However, this willingness to discuss seems to end where students’ religious identities begin. As a result, students with a faith-based identity explore their non-religious identity to the exclusion of their religious identity. The following article explores the interdependence of racial and religious identities and the importance of welcoming that duality into student affairs discussions. This investigation is based on two studies of African American students and the role religion plays in their identity development. The concept that race and religion play an intersecting role in social identity is then applied to student affairs to generate ideas for including religion in identity building practices and programs.