The next Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy Unity Dinner will be 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, in Buttrick Hall 123. The event, “Unity Dinner: Under God,” invites Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff to a guided discussion about the role of religion in a divided time.
Vanderbilt community members may register here. Registration is required to attend, and seats are limited. Dinner will be provided.
Please note, Unity Dinners fill up quickly, but if space is full, we will add you to our waiting list.
The Unity Dinners are a series of events designed to bring students, faculty and staff together in conversation around our society’s most pressing issues. Each event features Vanderbilt faculty who are topic-matter experts to facilitate the discussion.
Meet our facilitators:
Chris Donald, Vanderbilt University chaplain, director of the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
Chris Donald has served Vanderbilt as university chaplain and director of the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life since June 2019. With over a decade as a leader of spiritual life in higher education institutions, Chris has been instrumental in increasing interfaith activities and dialogue on college campuses. Chris has also led social justice initiatives focused on racial reconciliation and pressing social issues. He is a United Methodist pastor, holding a master of divinity from Duke University and a doctor of education in higher education from the Peabody College. He also completed clinical pastoral education, including training in multicultural and multifaith pastoral counseling and care, at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Laurel Schneider, professor of religious studies, Vanderbilt University
Laurel C. Schneider is a professor of religious studies and the Graduate Department of Religion, as well as affiliated faculty in the Gender & Sexuality Studies and American Studies departments at Vanderbilt University. She serves on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Religion. Among other scholarly books and publications, she is the author of Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity (Routledge, 2007) and co-author of Queer Soul, Queer Theology: Redemption in Real Life (Routledge 2021). She works on historical and contemporary Christian theologies from a postcolonial, anti-racist and liberationist perspective, and on Native American religious and philosophical traditions.
Shevonne Nelson Dillingham, program director for intercultural engagement, the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American Democracy
Shevonne Nelson Dillingham (she/they) is the mastermind behind our Unity Dinners and will be present to oversee the discussion. Dillingham has more than 20 years of experience helping public and private organizations reach their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. They have a wealth of experience in higher education and have focused most recently on helping students, faculty and staff to learn about socially constructed differences and systems of oppression and to envision places and spaces that better reflect equality.