Coming soon, from the University who in previous tangos with campus identity, took down a display of flags of the world in the once-Flagged Lounge, used a laissez-faire “nah, not on us, fam” approach to granting students leave on non-national holidays, and removed URBee as a campus mascot, comes the decision to keep the winning streak going with a topic not even the most egregious of first-daters will touch: religion.

The University previously announced plans for two religious centers on campus, the Greenbaum Center for Jewish Life and the Catholic Newman Center Building, but a third center will now be joining their ranks — a building to facilitate the practice of the Harga. The Harga are well known for their flower dances, runes, mushroom trips, and if you are not familiar with the group, you can learn more about their practices in the stunning film that is just a true depiction of their culture, “Midsommar.”

For those who are familiar with college culture nowadays, you know that religion is all the rage, or at least that is what director of the Harga Flower Center, Freja Karlsson, is banking on. “At first I was wondering if our beliefs could be tethered to the modern college campus,” Karlsson reflected. “But when the students asked if they could get the cool flower dress Florence Pugh wears at the end of ‘Midsommar’ or have our psychedelic mushroom tea, I was touched that they truly wanted to engage with our culture.”

Some questions have arisen from using the last pieces of land on campus for religious buildings for a nondenominational school. Such as, why not go off-campus like other UR groups have and buy a house? Wouldn’t that cost less? Couldn’t you just build a new building that’s an expansion of the Interfaith Chapel that’s not directly next to the chapel, the University’s symbol of unity where everyone’s beliefs can be under one building, an idea that is totally not being wrecked? What if the potentially-murderous flower hippies were located just a liiiiittle bit across the bridge?

When the CT approached Administration with these questions, they weren’t able to hear us over President Sarah Mangesldorf throwing a cold stack up over her desk making it rain onto the various deans of UR. 

The religious organizations behind the buildings in question have expressed vehemently that these buildings will be open to the community. Hillel’s University of Rochester chapter wishes to look past their struggles with antisemitic rhetoric and leave student Instagram stories behind in favor of more interfaith dealings (in the comfort of their own building). The Algemeiner, Elie Wiesel’s nonprofit Jewish paper who covered the Hillel-reported “zoombombings,” has yet to comment on this new development, which could let all students Hava Nagila the night away on campus instead of just at AEPi.

Similarly, Catholic Newman plans to open its doors — mainly so that nobody can tack another version of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses onto them. Their communion wafers will stay kosher, halal, and gluten-free for all of the religious communities of campus to enjoy, and they plan to offer free baptisms to all Hajim students who don’t want to trek all the way back to their dorms in order to shower.

The Flower Center backs that same sentiment in turn. “That’s the whole point actually, you know, why we do the human sacrifices and burn the building,” explained Karlsson. “We then rebuild it as a sacrifice to bring good luck to the community. Our whole thing is for everybody, not us. We’re not investing in their own million-dollar buildings to, what do the kids call it, ‘stunt on ‘em’? If we had access to those kinds of resources, we surely would invest into the surrounding community. The one that is the only reason this University is able to operate, the one that is the most economically segregated school district in the country. We would fund scholarships, free pre-college programs, or just ask the wonderful Rochester community what they need and we’ll support them. But that’s just what we would do with this kind of money being invested into the buildings.”

When asked for a follow up on resources, Karlsson laughed, “Oh, all we need is some wood, for our building, it’s basically a farm house. The true expense is the bear we’re going to need, but all in all, it’s about $15,000 dollars. We might be able to get a discount if we get the cocaine bear, because if he’s into coke, shrooms aren’t that far of a leap.” After all, what’s the harm in adding yet another lover of that powdered sugar on the ski slopes on the Fraternity Quad?



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