Skip to main content

Religious / Faith-Based Student Organizations at the University of Dayton

Religious / Faith-Based Student Organizations at the University of Dayton


Faith formation and reflective religious dialogue play important roles in the education and development of the whole person at the University of Dayton. This commitment flows from values expressed in the University Mission Statement, a portion of which states:

Ultimately, a Catholic vision of the intellectual life is based upon the acceptance of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ as it has been received and handed on by the Church. This challenge calls for integration of the human and the divine, reason and faith, and promotes true understanding through a person’s head and heart. The university welcomes persons of all faiths and persuasions to participate in open and reflective dialogue concerning truth and the ultimate meaning of life. (UD Mission statement)

In the spirit of Catholic and Marianist Universities, UD values the presence and contributions of people of different faith traditions who share the fundamental commitments of the university and who participate in mutual exchange and respectful dialogue. All of this adds value to the educational process at UD and can serve to deepen the faith experiences of all who engage.

Catholic universities have a particular obligation to foster dialogue between faith and culture and to embrace the task in its complexity, given the multiplicity of faith perspectives and cultures that comprise our world.  Dialogue serves the Marianist mission of educating the whole person when it enables participants to integrate the heart and the intellect as they express an informed understanding of their own faith and culture and engage in active listening to persons of other faiths and cultures, as well as those with no religious faith.  To become an actual community of learners requires a dialogue marked by humility and trust among all participants who strive to move beyond simple tolerance toward respectful collaboration in our common educational mission.  (Characteristics of Marianist Universities, 2019, #20)

As a primary agent in faith formation at UD, Campus Ministry’s responsibility is to foster and ensure that the climate for respectful dialogue and mutual exchange consistent with the university mission is operative in religious/faith-based programs at the university.


This policy exists to support the development of faith/based religious student organizations at the University of Dayton.  It defines the role/relationship they have with Campus Ministry and the Center for Student Involvement, the responsibilities organizations have to ensure a climate for respectful dialogue, faith formation, and mutual exchange, and defines the parameters by which organizations with external (non-UD) sponsorship may function.  The policy also addresses guest speaker and chapel use policies for faith based/religious student organizations.

Policy History

I.  Effective Date:  March 1, 2011

II.  Approval:  November 30, 2020

III.  Policy History:

  • Approved in its original form:  March 1, 2011
  • Approved as Amended:  November 30, 2020

IV.  Maintenance of Policy:  Department of Campus Ministry


Religious/faith-based student organizations: Student groups guided or motivated by religious beliefs whose primary purpose would change without their religious identity. They function to encourage the practice of or education about a religion or to support the religious identity development of students.

Campus Ministry Adviser:  UD Campus Minister or Campus Ministry approved adviser who supports student and organization development/process/program according to the guidelines of the Center for Student Involvement for advisers.

Non-UD religious organization:  Any religious organization, not affiliated with the University of Dayton, that provides external sponsorship for student organizations.  These are often denominationally affiliated.

Off Campus Liaison:  An individual who is not employed by the University of Dayton who represent a Non-UD religious organization and who supports the leadership development of student leaders.  They are considered Level 2 volunteers under the University Volunteer Policy.

Guest Speakers:  Any individual who is not employed at the University of Dayton who is asked to lead religious activity (speak, preach, etc.) for student organizations (including Catholic priests and religious, alumni, lay ecclesial ministers, leadership from any other religious organization, etc.). 


Vision and Relationship with Campus Ministry

Students, faculty, and staff represent a variety of religious expressions at UD. In the spirit of fostering a climate where respectful religious dialogue can occur and in support of the many who seek to deepen their faith experience while at UD, all groups pursuing a religious/faith-based purpose must adhere to the Catholic and Marianist mission of the University of Dayton. The spirit of this is expressed in the purpose statement above. 

Religious/faith-based organizations broaden the educational experience at UD and serve the needs of current UD students. Students who seek to build community around a particular faith expression, are encouraged to pursue the development of religious/faith-based student organizations. 

All religious/faith-based groups seeking to assemble and function on campus must:

  1. Be started and administered by current UD graduate or undergraduate students and be recognized by Campus Ministry in cooperation with the Center for Student Involvement.
  2. Engage in an ongoing way with Campus Ministry through the application/renewal process and through their UD Campus Ministry approved adviser to secure or maintain recognized organizational status. This is to foster collaboration and communication and deter competition among religious/faith-based groups and departments on campus, ensure that groups understand the context for religious ministries at UD, and see that they comply with UD’s student organization policies and procedures.
  3. Recognize that student organization affiliation with non-UD religious organizations is permitted solely for the purpose of advising student groups, not for establishing satellite ministries.

Campus Ministry assesses and determines the compatibility of campus religious organizations with the overall mission of the University of Dayton. The following policies and procedures guide the process through which student religious/faith-based organizations obtain/retain organizational status.


All religious/faith-based groups are advised by a UD campus minister or Campus Ministry approved adviser. Organizations may also designate an additional full-time UD Faculty/Staff adviser or resource if desired. 

Criteria for Off-Campus Liaisons 

In the event that a student organization has an affiliation with a non-UD religious organization, one liaison who represents this religious organization may be designated. Since the role of the liaison is to support the leadership development of the student leaders who in turn generate the momentum of the student organization, the number of liaisons is limited to one.

This liaison must be approved by Campus Ministry and will:

  1. Adhere to the Policy on University Volunteers as a Level 2 volunteer.
  2. Possess at least a Bachelor's degree.
  3. Demonstrate evidence of understanding or training in ministry to young adults in the context of Catholic higher education.
  4. Affirm the essential thrust of higher education and the aims of the University of Dayton as a Catholic and Marianist University.
  5. Refrain from misrepresenting or belittling people, behaviors, or religious traditions from around the world.
  6. Respect the religious freedom of others, even as witness is given to a particular tradition.
  7. Be in good standing within the non-UD religious organization they represent.
  8. Be persons of strong moral character and sensitivity who adhere to standards of professionalism and who maintain appropriate boundaries with students (e.g. emotional, physical, intellectual, sexual, etc.).
  9. Undergo a criminal background check initiated by the University of Dayton (if not a UD employee).
  10. Engage with the student organization on campus no more than 10 hours/week.
Criteria for Recognition 

Campus Ministry seeks to ensure that an organization’s purpose, methods, and activities adhere to the values stated in the Position Statement on Religious/Faith-Based Organizations at UD. Advisers, liaisons, and student officers are responsible for upholding the following principles and guidelines as they oversee organizational leadership and activities. 

  1. Ensure that the organization is initiated and driven by current UD students. Current UD students must show significant interest (5 students minimally).  Current UD students must execute all functions of the organization.
  2. Affirm the essential thrust of higher education and the aims of the University of Dayton as a Catholic and Marianist University.
  3. Maintain respect for the various religious traditions represented at UD and recruit or present programs in such a way that the integrity and legitimacy of the person who holds a given faith (or no faith) is not disparaged. This includes avoiding recruitment and promotional strategies and activities that denigrate, misrepresent, ridicule, or portray disrespectful attitudes towards other faith traditions or the people who practice them.
  4. Offer membership to all University of Dayton undergraduate or graduate students who have an interest in the organization’s mission and purpose.
  5. Although requesting respect for the religious beliefs of the organization, refrain from requiring agreement with specific religious beliefs.
  6. Understand that proselytizing (using coercion, pressure, manipulation, deceptive or other aggressive methods to enlist, convert, or influence people, particularly those who might be vulnerable in their faith or personal lives) is prohibited.
  7. Identify the sponsoring group clearly and accurately in all advertising, outreach, and programmatic endeavors. 
  8. Refrain from intruding on the privacy of students, faculty, and staff, especially in their residence halls, houses, or offices.
  9. Support UD’s vision of an ecumenical spirit and mutually respectful religious dialogue in the mission and activities of the student organization and non-UD religious organization (if applicable). Be willing to collaborate with and/or be in dialogue with other religious groups on campus.
  10. Demonstrate that the group will provide perspective or activities that contribute uniquely to the campus religious environment. New organizations may not duplicate or compete unnecessarily with existing campus religious organizations.
  11. Maintain an ongoing relationship with the Department of Campus Ministry through regular communication about events and activities with their campus ministry adviser and other forums for communication and cooperation among religious organizations as appropriate.
  12. Student officers, advisers, and liaisons set the tone and mission of organizational activities and should uphold these standards within the organization. Organizations that fail to adhere to these principles will not be permitted to function on campus.

Responsibilities of recognized religious/faith-based student organizations include:

  1. Meet with the Executive Director of Campus Ministry or designee/committee to review the purpose and activities of the organization and discuss their contribution to the religious climate at UD before organizational status is approved.
  2. Obtain approval of all fundraising plans, publicity, and promotional activities from campus ministry adviser.
  3. Communicate regularly with campus ministry about the organization including notification of campus-wide events and activities, meeting time/place, and event dates/changes.
  4. Approve off-campus speakers, ministers, priests or religious leaders through the process established by the Center for Student Involvement, or the Executive Director of Campus Ministry as applicable.
  5. Protestant and ecumenical Christian groups should maintain positive relationships with Campus Minister for Christian Diversity and Ecumenical Ministry. All groups should maintain positive relationships with other recognized religious/faith-based groups on campus, avoiding competition and duplication.
  6. Follow student organization policies and guidelines as articulated by Center for Student Involvement.

Privileges of recognized religious/faith-based organizations include:

  1. Rights, responsibilities, and privileges of other campus student organizations including use of university bulletin boards and electronic media (upon event approval from the Center for Student Involvement).
  2. Eligibility for Center for Student Involvement and other university awards.
  3. Eligibility to apply for university funding (per funding criteria) (e.g. through the Student Government Association).
  4. Use of University facilities and services for organization activities. See Campus Chapel Use Policy (addendum, page 7) for guidelines related to campus worship. 
  5. Listing in selected campus ministry publications (including faith-based student groups on Campus Ministry website). 
  6. Ability to make photocopies in Liberty Hall for organization activities.
  7. Ability to request partial financial support for activities and functions through the Department of Campus Ministry (depending on availability of funds).
  8. Use of Liberty Hall for regular meeting space on a first come first served basis after Campus Ministry departmental activities are scheduled. 
  9. Use of campus ministry vehicles for organization functions on a first come first served basis after Campus Ministry departmental use is scheduled (with UD certified drivers at cost to the organization).

If a religious/faith-based organization fails to abide by stated principles, guidelines and procedures, the Executive Director of Campus Ministry will give a written warning outlining the areas of concern. Failure to correct the violation, repeated or additional violations will result in a repeal of recognized status. Religious/faith-based organizations, which are not recognized will be prohibited from functioning on UD’s campus.

Speakers and worship leaders

Campus Ministry serves as a resource for organizations when prayer experiences are part of their activities. When planning prayer on campus, be in contact with your campus ministry adviser and keep the following in mind:

Anyone invited to lead religious activity (including speakers, preachers, etc.) for student organizations must be approved using the Center for Student Involvement speaker approval process.  This process is part of the 1850 event registration process.  This applies to anyone who is not a current student, faculty, or staff member at the University of Dayton (including Catholic priests and religious, alumni, lay ecclesial ministers, leadership from any other religious organization, etc.).  There are no exceptions to this policy.   

Invitations to visiting preachers and ministers, including Catholic priests invited to lead worship on campus, will be made by or through the Executive Director of Campus Ministry.

Chapels and Sacred Spaces

Campus chapels, prayer spaces, and reflection rooms are sacred spaces dedicated to cultivate spiritual life that serve as visible signs of the priority of faith at the University of Dayton. These spaces are located across campus and include:  The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception; Residence Hall Chapels in Marycrest, Stuart, VWK, Founders, and Marianist Halls; the Curran Place Reflection Room; the Muslim Prayer Room (Rike Center).  Since these are designated as sacred places for worship and prayer, activities that take place in these spaces should be supportive of and compatible with their primary use.  Any activities held here should respect their design, arrangement, and integrity as sacred places. 

Some examples of acceptable uses include: 

  • Celebration of the Eucharist and other forms of Catholic worship 
  • Interdenominational Worship
  • Gatherings for remembrance
  • Communal and private prayer, meditation, worship, reflection, and rituals across faith traditions and spiritual practices
  • Places of refuge and quiet for individuals to cultivate a relationship with God
  • Places of welcome and comfort - safe spaces to “be”
  • Musical reflection 
  • Places for friends to (spontaneously) gather to pray, make music together, praise God
  • Some chapels may be used for lectures, concerts, and other art forms when content has a sacred, prayerful, or theological nature and permission is given by the Executive Director of Campus Ministry.

Spaces may be reserved by University departments, Marianists, current university-related organizations, and recognized student organizations. To reserve chapels, contact the appropriate Campus Ministry office.  Typically, Residence Hall Chapels (except Marianist) are reserved for the use of residents of that hall only.  Meetings and other activities are more appropriately held in alternative campus spaces.  Please contact the Executive Director of Campus Ministry in advance to hold non-Catholic worship in chapels that are consecrated or where Eucharist is reserved  (Immaculate Conception, Marianist, Stuart, and Marycrest).  The Executive Director of Campus Ministry reserves the right to limit Chapel use on campus.

Reference Documents

  1. University of Dayton Mission Statement
  2. Characteristics of Marianist Universities, 2019 #20

For questions relating to University policies of Campus Ministry, please contact:

Crystal Sullivan, Director of Campus Ministry