Category: News

Better Together

  • April 23rd, 2014
  • in News

SERVE Better Together 2015

PaintingThis year’s Serve Better Together took place on November 14th, 2015 at Holt Elementary School. The event was a partnership between Crossroads Community Center and the Center for Service and Leadership to bring students off all different religious groups together to dialogue about their faith and give back to the community.

Volunteer students from the Muslim Student Association, local church groups, and education students worked together on painting a new lending library and reading lounge for students. The lending library is an opportunity for students to help grow their book collections at home, as there is no due date on the books. It also a chance for students to donate books to their fellow classmates. Many of the Better Together team was set to work on organizing the large amount of books donated to start the lending library into different genres and reading levels. Another group of students helped paint Holt’s bathrooms with college logos and inspirational quotes to encourage students to pursue a future in academics.

Returning to campus, students came together for lunch and dialogue after a hard morning’s work. Gathering in small groups in the Ferguson Center Great Hall, students of all walks of life came together to discuss their differences and similarities of faith. New friendships were formed over the breaking of bread and the hard and good work of the day.

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Play Better Together was a unique event hosted on 24 August, 2015 in Gorgas 205 that featured speaker Ben Spears from Ultimate Peace. Crossroads Community Center partnered with UA’s Ultimate Frisbee team to show students across campus how they can be brought together through the power of play.

Students were taught some of the basics of Ultimate by the UA team, and were invited out on a warm fall afternoon to practice throwing the Frisbee around with each other. Learning names, sharing stories, and ducking the occasional Frisbee thrown with a bit too much force lead to a lot of laughter and new friendships formed on the quad.

Spears talked to the group about his experience working to give youth in the Middle East a chance to build friendships by playing Ultimate Frisbee. He shared his experience of bringing Palestinian and Israeli youth together in the sports camp and how they would learn to work together on teams, and would gain communication skills that helped bring their communities together as a whole.

SERVE Better Together 2014

IMG_1094On March 15, 2014, Crossroads Community Center and the Community Service Center joined forces with Authentic Renovations Ministries and Love, Inc., to promote appreciation for diversity and community service. With funding from Target, an interfaith group of students came together to work at homes of families in need of repairs and wheelchair ramps.

Calling the event SERVE Better Together, this event was initiated by Better Together, a student organization at The University of Alabama. Better Together unites students of different faiths and philosophies by engaging them in service and community engagement projects. By giving to their community, individuals make new friends and foster new relationships for increased interfaith understanding.

By serving the public selflessly, the Common Good nature of the project helps alleviate conflicts these groups might have regarding religious differences and begins to lay the foundation for interfaith dialogue. Over 50 volunteers from Crossroads, The Community Service Center, the Crimson Secular Student Alliance, Bama Hillel, various Christian congregations, and the Muslim Student Association were able to serve Tuscaloosa residents by renovating these families’ homes.

Following a successful and rewarding day, students enjoyed dinner and interfaith dialogue at the Hillel Student Center. As the day began to wind down, students were able to strengthen new friendships formed throughout the day and discuss the importance of diversity on campus, in the community, and in our daily lives.

SERVE Better Together video

Inclusive Leadership through Sustained Dialogue UH 120 or NEW 120 Fall 2014

  • April 21st, 2014
  • in News

Sustained Dialogue Course – Fall 2014[1]

1.0 hour Pass/Fail credit

Thursdays 4:00 – 4:50 pm

In an increasingly globalized world, leaders need the skills to resolve conflict across difference. Sustained Dialogue is a five-stage dialogue-to-action model that requires participants to take the time to focus first on transforming change-blocking relationships, and then on solving problems. This course will explore the theory behind this innovative model and ultimately consider how Sustained Dialogue applies to visions for positive change at the University of Alabama.

Participants will receive an introduction to the Sustained Dialogue model and then meet in dialogue groups of the same 10 participants weekly to work through the 5 stages to address specific issues on campus.

REGISTRATION INFO: Students may register for the same course via:

• UH 120-019 (CRN 50498) Or • NEW 120-001 (CRN 50742) Non-Honors option

(Student does NOT need to be in New College to enroll in this course.)

For more information, contact:
Lane McLelland, Director,
Crossroads Community Center at or call 205-348-6930

A new document, “UAct: Working together to create an ethical community defined by respect and civility,” has been placed on the UA website at

  • April 4th, 2014
  • in News

The document provides UA students, employees and visitors with a list of reporting channels they can use to report incidences of illegal discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, retaliation, threat assessment or fraud. Using information from the site, any UA student, employee, job applicant or visitor who has concerns can seek the assistance of the appropriate University official designated in the UAct document.

UAct was created as part of UA’s commitment to provide a safe environment for students, employees and campus visitors.

McLelland: New Job Is Real-World Test of Her Preparation

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Lane McLelland, director, Crossroads Community Center
Lane McLelland, director, Crossroads Community Center

Looking back after six months in her new job as director of Crossroads Community Center, Lane Busby McLelland, the former assistant director of New College, is excited by her new responsibilities, which she sees as an opportunity to apply all her academic and life experiences to the challenges facing higher ed today .

McLelland holds a master of arts in ethics, a master of divinity and an interdisciplinary bachelor’s in international studies and conflict management. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social and Cultural Studies Program in the College of Education.

“I loved what I did in New College, but coming to Crossroads gives me the opportunity to develop my fundamental areas of interest even more,” she said.

Crossroads Community Center provides leadership at UA in cultural programming and intercultural education by developing and hosting a variety of cultural events and dialogue programs that build community among the diverse groups on campus. It pursues its mission by engaging the energies of faculty, staff and students in the creation, implementation and evaluation of intercultural experiences.

McLelland sees her new job from several points of view. “I love working with people of different perspectives and backgrounds and seeing them work together,” she said. “Whether I am introducing domestic students to international students or convening stakeholders on campus for dialogue about controversial issues, I love seeing people build relationships across the differences they previously believed divided them. Because I’m coming from a program (New College) that values interdisciplinary work, I believe in bringing multiple perspectives to solving problems in society. My life has been interdisciplinary.”

Before beginning a teaching career at Shelton State Community College in 1999 and taking a position teaching full-time at UA in 2008, McLelland worked in various roles in the fields of religion and ethics. During the mid-1990s she worked in Atlanta for the Health Care Ethics Consortium of Georgia at the Emory Center for Ethics and served as a chaplain in the Olympic Village during the 1996 Summer Olympics.

All of these jobs, she believes, prepared her for her new job. “My work in New College always emphasized placing students in embedded community-based learning opportunities,” McLelland said. She said she looks for projects to get students and community members talking and working side-by-side. “I’ve done a great deal of work in the last two years to get students living and working in the community to help community partners solve problems together.”

In addition to her academic and service credentials, McLelland served as a United Methodist minister at Chinese Community United Methodist Church in Oakland, Calif., and Trinity United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa. Also, she taught at Tunghai University in Taiwan and later worked with China-related organizations in Washington, D.C. As she implements custom-designed cultural programming for maximum effectiveness for the University, McLelland draws on her life experiences of living in working in cultures dramatically different from her own life growing up in Alabama.

McLelland said she missed teaching during her first semester at Crossroads, but is developing a new course that will also advance the mission of Crossroads. “I hope to offer some special courses that meet the goals of the academic departments and the goals of Crossroads: critical thinking and deliberative-dialogue,” McLelland said. This fall she is teaching Through the Open Doors: Sustained Dialogue for Courage, Change, and Progress.

Fifty years ago dramatic confrontations called for extraordinary courage for change and progress to occur at the University of Alabama. In 2013, the challenges are somewhat different, but the skillful dialogue for changing social norms resistant to progress continues to demand courage from student leaders, according to McLelland. “Today, deep courage is needed to talk honestly with each other and listen respectfully to those with whom we profoundly disagree. The next fifty years will call for students who can lead their peers in meaningful exchanges for positive action together.”

Her new course will examine the theoretical foundations of the student body politic as it has developed over the last half century. Comparing these to emerging theories for a 21st century Politics of Relationship and using the Sustained Dialogue Model for engaging opposing viewpoints, students will then explore the potential of this five-stage dialogue-to-action process to build on-going working relationships across historical divisions on campus.

In appointing McLelland, Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, said, “Crossroads Community Center provides important intercultural leadership and dialogue programs for the campus and communities both near and far. We are most fortunate to have someone of Ms. McLelland’s background, credentials and motivation in this position.”

McLelland succeeds Dr. Beverly Hawk, who has joined the Center for Community-Based Partnerships as director of program services. McLelland received her bachelor’s degree from UA and both graduate degrees from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.

For more information on Crossroads, call McLelland at 205-348-6930 or email her at