Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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Keeping religious identity alive at UT

Keeping+religious+identity+alive+at+UT
Schuyler Burke

Religion is multifaceted and often deemed a taboo topic, one warned against conversing about at cocktail parties. But, there’s no question that the impact of faith stretches from the individual to societal level, molding communities and defining lives.

In times of political polarization, debate about the intersection of religion and education proves divisive on college campuses across the country. A national survey of religious affiliation in Generation Z found that 34% of the population reported being religiously unaffiliated, a record-breaking high for the US. Yet for many students, religion plays a pivotal role in their college experience, which is a time of self-discovery and personal development. 

As a secular institution, UT does not align with one particular faith, but religious representation continues to impact many students’ way of life. 


For this forum, we asked students to address what being religious at UT means to them and how their affiliation has shaped their college experience. The following submissions are ordered alphabetically by religion.

In this forum project:

Leona Mariel Hernandez, an anthropology senior, contends with the tension of being Catholic and pursuing her passion for the liberal arts.

Avery Wong, a Plan II and neuroscience sophomore, challenges the common religious concern about attending a secular university and explains how the transition to college reaffirmed her connection to Christianity.

Anirudh Karunakaran, an accounting sophomore, discusses the unique challenges of Hinduism at UT, a religion seeking recognition, representation and equal footing in the diverse tapestry of faiths on UT’s campus.

A member of the campus community reflects on their experiences as a Muslim at UT and calls upon the school’s leadership to stand against Islamophobia.

Ava Londa, a psychology sophomore, opens up about finding community at a large, southern public university after the daunting move away from her predominantly Jewish high school in New York. 

The forum team consists of forum editors Ellie Monday, Tommy Wan and editor-in-chief Lucero Ponce. As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Lucero Ponce, Editor-in-Chief
Lucero Ponce is a third-year student from Laredo, Texas studying journalism and Mexican American & Latino studies. She currently serves as the Texan's Editor-in-Chief and was previously the Texan en Español Director.
Tommy Wan, Forum Editor
Tommy is a freshman civil engineering and plan II major from Houston, Texas. Currently, he is a forum editor and opinion columnist. He is a legislative aide at the Texas Legislature and competes on the Texas Mock Trial Team.
Schuyler Burke, Illustration Coordinator
Schuyler is an Arts and Entertainment Technologies Sophomore from Austin, Texas. Currently she works as an Illustration Coordinator for the Opinion Department at the Texan. She was previously an opinion Illustrator. Schuyler loves to create and read in her free time.