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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

New Chapel House Program Coordinator Expands Offerings

Colgate University

Colgate University’s Chapel House hired a new Resident Program Coordinator, Angela Angie Hollar, on June 11. Previously a rector at the University of Notre Dame, Hollar will lead community events throughout the year for Chapel House, Colgate’s center for spiritual growth located up the road from Frank Dining Hall and behind Drake Hall.

In the three weeks since the start of the semester, Hollar has opened Chapel House’s doors to students for a range of events. Some examples include Best Rest, where students can nap at Chapel House, inspired by the book Rest is Resistance. AlsoheART, which is an event to paint personal reflections inspired by the nonprofit movement Late Nite Art, as well as P & Poetry based on the work of poet Andrea Gibson and a continuation of guided meditation. Additional events include yoga and flower arranging.

Sophomore Aayusha Dhungana attended the Floral Design night. This was her first time attending an event at Chapel House.

“This was the first time I heard about such a joyful event like this on campus, and, as someone who loves flowers, I had to be there,” Dhungana said. 

Professor of World Religions and Jewish Studies Steven Kepnes is also the director of Chapel House, a place he hopes can be a resource for the entire Colgate community.

“Our mission is to provide a place of quiet and peace and reflection on a very busy and intense college campus,” Kepnes said. “I want [everyone] to know that they can come here whenever they need a break and a warm welcoming environment to unwind and just be!”

While Chapel House began as an extended retreat center, it now hosts a variety of daily events. Hollar, a graduate from the University of Notre Dame with a background in theology and social work, has increased options in student programming aimed at relaxation and reflection, which Kepnes admires.   

“[Hollar] is extremely creative, kind and responsive to the needs of students,” Kepnes said. “We already have seen her set up multiple programs at Chapel House that students have responded very positively to. She is a major plus for Chapel House and for Colgate students, faculty and staff.”

Hollar understands the pressures that college students face today and hopes Chapel House can be a place where students can find a moment of peace.

“In all that I do at Chapel House, I see my role as primarily inviting students to consider – again and again, through all sorts of methods – that the breadth and depth of their being cannot be reduced to an academic metric,” Hollar said. “I hope that when students come to programming at Chapel House they remember that they are infinitely more complex than a grade can quantify, more valuable than a diploma, and more loved than they can imagine.”

Chapel House originally opened in 1959 as a spot for personal worship and meditation. As director, Kepnes noticed recent changes to make Chapel House more student-centered. 

“The place has become more open to students than previously,” Kepnes said. “This started when we hired Rodney Agant in 2016 to do programming for students and this has been carried forward by [Hollar].”

Dhungana echoed this message after attending the Floral Night, sharing that she would be interested in coming to future Chapel House events.

“I hope to see some similar events that are very unique and engaging,” Dhungana said.  

Hollar wants to keep current programs consistent while still rolling out news ones. Information can be found for all these events on the Instagram page @colgate_chapelhouse. One event students can look forward to is “Living My Best Life,” a series of talks with Colgate alumni on how they live a life of meaning and purpose. Hollar also has many ideas for events to host alongside other Colgate communities. 

“Other ideas I’m thinking about are wellness retreat days, a book club about sexuality and spirituality, and forest bathing expeditions,” Hollar said. “If students ever have ideas for programming, I would love to team up and make it happen.”

While Chapel House has introduced a variety of programming, Hollar emphasizes that it is a space for students to relax even outside of these scheduled events. 

“More than anything else, we want students to know that you are welcome here! Sit in the meditation garden and breathe, listen to records in the music room, practice yoga in the chapel, read or draw in the library, nap in the Dalai Lama’s chair or stay overnight on retreat,” Hollar said. “There are so many ways to take advantage of all that Chapel House has to offer, and we hope you all join us in co-creating a space on campus that honors and celebrates quiet, introspection and spiritual growth.” 

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About the Contributor
Emma McCartan
Emma McCartan, Assistant News Editor
Emma McCartan is a sophomore from Guilford, CT majoring in international relations with a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. She has previously served as a staff writer for the News section. On campus, Emma is involved in Model United Nations.

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