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by Madeline Mleziva, ’21

This semester I have interned as the Center for Faith and Vocation’s Communications Intern. This Internship has given me the opportunity to experience many programs on campus and learn many new skills. My favorite part has been the chance to work with and assist many different outreach programs. Typically, my main means of assistance has been through creating posters and flyers for the various programs sponsored by the CFV. While I didn’t coordinate and plan an entire program, it was exciting to have the ability to have many small impacts on a variety of programs. One of my favorite projects was creating the posters for the First Friday at Four. I enjoyed this project so much because I also got the opportunity to attend the event each month and see all the people that came. Seeing the people attend was exciting because it became evident that my marketing and design efforts were paying off. My other exciting project has been creating a video to promote the new prayer, meditation, and reflection rooms in Jordan Hall. This project has proved some difficulty in getting students to answer emails and follow up. Even though it has been difficult to gain much assistance from students, it has been very exciting to have the creative freedom to create any sort of video I want. The video is still in the production process but hopefully it will be finished and online soon. Overall, this internship has allowed me to refine my design and production skills while also giving me the opportunity to participate in many different programs and outreaches. I’m very thankful for all the opportunity and experience the CFV has awarded me this semester.

 

by Kylene Warne, ’20

As an Elementary Education and Theatre major, my internship at Catholic Charities proved to be a unique and profound experience. I served as an Education intern through the Outreach and Education program and was in charge of planning and leading English classes held and two different community centers two days of the week, as well as providing in-home tutoring one day of the week. Because my courses are focused on child and teenager education, I have not had the opportunity to work with and teach adults. This internship was able to provide me with this experience that came with its perks and challenges. At first, I felt hesitant and unsure, as I did not know how to approach this age group and alter my lesson plans to fit a more mature audience. After the first few lessons and getting to know my students better, I was able to see what learning preferences this group had and how willing they were to learn and try new approaches. I now feel more comfortable and confident teaching all age groups, as well as in myself as a teacher. Since I had so much freedom to create a curriculum and had not finished my Education major yet, I originally felt as if I was doing everything wrong. I quickly realized how much knowledge I had acquired throughout my classes and other teaching experiences and that I do not need my license in order to help and make an impact on a community of people. I am so thankful for my bosses and students for allowing me to experiment with this learning journey and being open to all of my ideas.

by Lyla Iannaconne, ’19

This semester, I have been fulfilling an internship at Trinity Free Clinic in Carmel, IN doing marketing.  The clinic is a catholic, non-profit organization with a mission to provide free medical and dental care to uninsured and underinsured people in the Hamilton County area.  Not only do they want to provide these services but also provide them with an unparalleled level of respect, kindness, and dignity.

My role at the clinic this semester has been deeply intertwined in their annual fall fundraiser, the Run for Wellness.  The Run for Wellness is a 5K, 10K, and 15K race. The event includes the race and an expo where sponsors and vendors can promote their products and services. I’ve gotten the opportunity to run the social media for the race, promote the event, and manage the race day.

Not only did I receive experience in marketing but I also got to feel what it’s like to work in a wonderful, welcoming organization.  Every person working at the clinic is genuine, friendly, and happy to help with any problem.  I am so grateful that I got to know and work with my supervisor, the director of marketing, Autumn Zawadzki.

Thanks a million to TFC!

by Marissa Glantz

Interning at the JCC was a good way to dip my foot in the water in regards to the professional world and the internship world. I gained a lot of valuable hands-on experience in the marketing department. As the marketing intern I got the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. One thing I learned throughout my time here is the value of teamwork in a workplace. Having coworkers who I could collaborate with and rely on was extremely beneficial in my learning process. When given projects by my supervisor, there were some times where I had little questions or needed guidance in finding particular files and my colleagues were always happy to assist me. Another thing I learned was the business side behind social media ads. I obviously knew that my Facebook and Instagram had ads that were targeted directly towards me, but I got to be on the other side of that process and create ads and target them towards a particular public. This was really cool to see all of the features, options and statistics that go behind ad tailoring. It definitely assured my interest in the creative advertising field.

Throughout the second half of the semester I worked a lot on the Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts marketing. The social media posts I did for the JCC gained a lot of publicity for the festival that showed through the number of tickets purchased. . I enjoyed getting Facebook users to interact through the various postings. It was fun to do something I normally do (post on social media) but from a business marketing side. Overall, thanks to this internship, I feel like I will be more comfortable and confident as I move forward in my career.

 

by Rachel Koehler ’19

My name is Rachel Koehler, and I am a senior at Butler University studying International Studies and French. I have had the privilege of working with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation for the fall semester, and it has encouraged me to further consider a career in faith and social justice. This past semester I have been able to interact with Indianapolis’s diverse faith community in numerous ways from board retreats to podcast recordings and community events. The CIC’s board consists of 38 members with various faith perspectives, and I wanted to further explore the stories that each of these members brings to the CIC. These different backgrounds enrich the mission of the CIC, so I thought it was important to record them and make them available to the public. Also, to attract a younger audience to the CIC, I thought podcasts would be a great medium to use, since more and more people are starting to listen to them. My goal is to have the podcast available by the beginning of next semester. I have already interviewed several members and will continue to do so next spring. Each interview has given me a new perspective, so I am hoping it will do the same for any listener. Please look out for it on Apple, Spotify, or www.centerforinterfaithcooperation.org. I am still deciding on what title I want, but I am leaning towards “An Ear to Interfaith” or “The Dynamics of Interfaith.”

 

On Tuesday, October 30th, we held the second session of the yearlong Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, whose topic this year is Sacred Places: Intersections of Religion and Ecology. The second session was entitled “Non-Theistic Perspectives on the Environment: Buddhist and Jain Ecologies” and featured two eminent scholars of these traditions, Dr. Daniel Cozort of Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and Dr. Christopher Key Chapple of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

In the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, theological thinking about environmental issues typically makes reference to God as Creator, which means that the Earth and all its creatures are inherently good and worth protecting because they are products of God’s creative intentions. However, Jainism and certain traditions within Buddhism, such as Zen and Theravada, are non-theistic, which means that there is no notion of a deity creating the universe. For Jains and for Buddhists, the universe is often conceived as eternal, so there is no need for it to be “created.” So how do these non-theistic traditions frame care for the environment?

As we heard in the lectures, there are robust environmental ethics in both of these traditions, rooted in beliefs and practices specific to religious traditions with their origins in India. For example, Buddhism teaches that the root of human suffering is delusion and ignorance about reality and this is expressed in the “three marks of reality”: suffering, impermanence, and no-self. All of life is suffering and dissatisfaction, rooted in our ignorance of the way things really are. The way things really are is impermanent, in flux, and radically interconnected. But the deepest roots of our delusions stem from our tendency to think of ourselves as separate, independent, permanent selves, rather than as interconnected with all existence in fundamental ways. When we understand that we are not independent beings but “interbeings” and when we understand that everything exists in interdependence on everything else, we can alleviate suffering and focus our energies on loving and caring for all beings.

The Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh asks us to imagine a simple piece of paper to understand “interbeing.” We tend to think that this piece of paper has an independent existence, but when we think more deeply we realize that this paper couldn’t exist without the trees, and the trees couldn’t exist without rain and sunshine and nutrients in the soil, and the tree couldn’t be turned into paper without loggers and paper mill workers and salespeople, and none of those people could exist without food and drink and shelter and parents, and so on and so forth. When we really see the paper, it turns out that we’re holding the entire universe in our hands! So to care for one part of the earth is to care for everything in it, ourselves included.

Dr. Chapple leads the audience at Fairview House in a brief mindfulness exercise.

 

Jainism also offers a robust environmental ethic based on its central teaching of ahimsa, or non-harm. Jainism, like Zen and Theravada Buddhism, does not profess belief in a deity. Jains believe that everything that exists is composed of both spirit and matter, or “life” and “non-life.” People, animals, rivers, mountains, rocks, tables, chairs: all contain both life and non-life. All things are capable of suffering, so Jains believe that everything that exists must be treated with care and respect. Jain monks and nuns go barefoot to remember their connection to the Earth and to step lightly on it, minimizing the harm they might do to any living thing. Some monks and nuns will sweep the ground before they take a step and wear a mask to avoid breathing in or drinking another living thing. Jains are typically vegetarians and also avoid eating root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or onions, because eating these vegetables requires killing the plant. Jains are also likely to work in fields such as medicine and education: areas that promote life and wellbeing. Jains also take five vows, including non-harm, telling the truth, only taking what is freely given, chastity, and not possessing more than is needed. It is perhaps obvious how these vows contribute to a vibrant environmental ethic, as Jains pay careful attention to their impact on all beings. The environment must be protected and cared for because the environment is full of beings capable of suffering, so we must always take care that our actions do no harm.

Buddhism and Jainism are ancient traditions with many valuable insights to offer us as we confront serious environmental crises of our own making. To understand nature as alive and as capable of suffering and to understand our interconnection with all things should inspire compassion and mindfulness of the way we walk upon the earth.

 

On Saturday, October 20th, I had the privilege of accompanying nine Butler students from the Interfaith Council and the CFV Scholars on a service project organized by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, a local environmental organization involved with beautification projects designed to create or enhance green spaces in Indianapolis. We were joined by groups from IUPUI, IU School of Law, and other local citizens to plant 94 trees in the Riverside Neighborhood on the near-north side of Indianapolis, adjacent to Riverside Park.

The Butler students come from a number of backgrounds (Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, evangelical, and secular), but each had similar reasons for participating in this service project. At a debriefing lunch following the project they spoke of feeling called by their religious and ethical traditions to care for the Earth, to enhance the lives of their neighbors with beautiful trees, to spend time with one another and make new friends while doing good in their community, and to protect Indianapolis’s waterways from pollution (each tree we planted will intercept about 100 gallons of water in each rainfall, water that would otherwise overwhelm Indianapolis’s sewer system and send raw sewage into our waterways).

The project directors from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful taught us how to prepare a tree for planting, how to dig a proper hole, how to plant the tree, and how to reuse the sod and mulch the tree to ensure that it will provide shade and beauty, shelter birds and insects, capture water and carbon dioxide long after all of us have gone. Residents of the neighborhood came out to greet us and thank us for planting trees in front of their homes and several of the residents were overjoyed to see that “their” trees had finally arrived. One resident, a recent immigrant from West Africa, was so excited that he spent two hours helping us dig, prune, and plant! The students engaged all of them in conversation and were pleased to put a human face with their morning’s work.

In our conversation afterwards back at Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation, students were clearly energized and inspired by their work, despite having been up since before 8:00 on a Saturday morning. Every one of them was glad they participated and wants to do similar projects in the future. Furthermore, they agreed to spearhead an effort next year to include even more Butler students in KIB’s tree-planting projects so that more of their classmates could experience the joy of service in care of the environment and our community.

As a result of this project the students learned something important about interfaith engagement as well. Even though they come from different backgrounds and had specific motivations for caring for the Earth, they all ended up working together on the same project toward the same result. The Christian students shared biblical texts about the Earth as God’s creation and Christ’s command to serve others, the Muslim students shared Qur’anic texts about doing good for the neighbor and reflected on Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the Jewish student discussed the concept of tikkun olam (reparing the world) as a religious obligation, and the secular student reflected on their humanistic motivation to serve the neighbor and care for the Earth. Each student had their own motivations for engaging in this project, but they also learned about how other religious and ethical traditions conceive of the imperative to care for the Earth, its creatures, and our fellow human beings.

This kind of work is happening at Butler all the time, at the CFV, in Butler’s many student organizations, in the Greek houses, and through the annual BITS program (Bulldogs into the Streets). Many student organizations on campus require their members to complete hours of community service, so that students can put their learning into practice for the good of their communities. And if what I experienced on Saturday morning is any indication, these projects make a profound and lasting impact on everyone who participates in them, far beyond simply satisfying requirements for courses or membership in student organizations. So the next time you see a Butler student, I encourage you to ask them about the service projects they’ve done and prepare yourself to be swept away by their energy and enthusiasm!

Brent Hege

CFV Scholar in Residence and Instructor of Religion

 

 

One of the many wonderful programs of the CFV is the annual Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, which has been presented by the CFV along with the Religion program for nearly 25 years. Each year a Religion professor directs the Seminar on a topic of contemporary global significance. In the past we have had Seminars on Religion and Science, Religion and Freedom of Speech, Religion and Immigration, Religion and Race, and Religion and Trans Lives. This year’s Seminar, which I am directing, is on the topic of Religion and Ecology.

The CFV Seminar takes place over four evenings throughout the year, featuring public lectures by scholars and activists from across the country and in some cases around the world, each bringing their own unique expertise to the topic of that year’s Seminar. In addition to the public lectures there is also a concurrent 300-level Religion course open to students from each of Butler’s six colleges. The course meets for three hours on the Saturday morning before the public lectures, and the students also join the speakers and local guests for dinner and conversation before the lectures. Each director of the Seminar runs their courses differently, but for my course the students read a book related to the topic of the session, post discussion questions and responses online, and then write a seminar paper exploring the themes of the text and the session. On Saturday morning we have deep and far-ranging conversations together on the themes of the text and the session, each student bringing their own unique viewpoint to these challenging topics. After the public lectures the students write a reflection on what they learned during the public lectures and the conversations with the speakers, and these papers in particular affirm the that CFV Seminar is a rich and rewarding experience for Butler students!

This past Tuesday evening was the first of our four public sessions for this year’s Seminar. The title of this session was “The Places that Move Us: Ecology as a Vocation.” Our keynote speaker was Dr. Laurel Kearns, Professor of Ecology, Society, and Religion at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. She is an expert on Religion and Ecology and is a co-founder of the Green Seminary Initiative. In addition to Dr. Kearns’s keynote we also heard from two respondents. The first was Dr. Murat Eyuboglu, a documentary filmmaker and artist-in-residence at National Sawdust, who recently made a film on the Colorado River and is currently making a film on the Amazon River. The second respondent was Dr. Travis Ryan, chair of the Biological Sciences Department at Butler and an expert on urban ecology. For the class meeting before the lectures, students in the course read and discussed Annie Dillard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

The question for this first session of the Seminar was a simple one: what are the places that have moved us, shaped us, and inspired us to do the work of conservation, environmental activism, and ecojustice? What experiences of nature have we had in our lives that have compelled us to care for the Earth, its creatures, and its ecosystems? And in what sense is that work a vocation, a calling?

For myself, there is a clear answer to these questions. I grew up in a small, rural county in southcentral Pennsylvania where the bonds with nature ran very, very deep and still do to this day. Growing up in Perry County, it was impossible to ignore the rhythms of the seasons, the patterns of agriculture, the presence of animals all around us, and the beauty of the natural world. We learned how to identify countless species of plants, mammals, birds, insects, fish, and fungi, which we regularly harvested for our own use in gardens, lakes, rivers, creeks, fields, and woods. I learned to love and respect nature from a very early age, first by playing in the woods behind my house and the creek across the road, then by learning how to identify plants and trees, and later by learning how to fish and how to hunt. In the summers I worked on a farm and in the family garden, and in the falls and springs I hunted and fished, always eating whatever we killed. Nature was a familiar companion to us, but we never forgot that it was not our friend. It had its own patterns and it was far stronger than us. In many ways we were dependent on it for so much of our lives, which is a relationship I have palpably felt weaken since moving to the city of Indianapolis.

At the same time, I was being raised in the Lutheran church, where I learned about the God who created the universe and everything in it, who at the end of Genesis 1 pronounces all that exists to be “very good.” I learned to appreciate everything in the world as a good gift of a loving God and to see reflections of God’s care and God’s wisdom in the natural world all around me. I was fascinated by the lessons I learned in nature and seriously considered a career as a Wildlife Conservation Officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission until I realized that studying the sciences required significant competency in mathematics, which was the end of that road for me! Instead, I became a theologian and now I focus on different aspects of nature, still with the same love and respect and awe for the good world God so loves.

In the Seminar on Tuesday evening, our three speakers spoke of their own deep love of nature and reflected on their commitment to conservation and ecojustice as a vocation, a calling. Dr. Kearns spoke with great passion about her upbringing on Sanibel Island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. She shared that she began her undergraduate studies as a student of ecology before falling in love with sociology and the study of religion. But to this day she spends much of her academic energies at the intersection of religion and ecology, believing that we are called to love the Earth, its creatures, and its ecosystems, and to neglect or abuse any one part is to neglect and abuse the whole.

Dr. Eyuboglu spoke of his calling as a filmmaker, his passion for connecting people with beautiful and majestic places, and the people who live there, as a call to action, to protect these places before they are lost forever. He invited us to consider the dangers to these places based on human activity and our failure to think holistically about our use of land and water. He took us (metaphorically) down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon, to the Salton Sea, and finally to the delta, a once-thriving ecosystem teeming with life and healthy human settlements but now arid and all but abandoned due to our misuse and abuse of the Colorado River. Through his films, Dr. Eyuboglu hopes to inspire us to care more deeply about these natural places in order to protect and nurture them and to encourage us to think more intentionally about how to live lightly, responsibility, and reverently on the Earth.

Dr. Ryan spoke of the ordinary places that have become extraordinary simply because someone noticed them, cared for them, and loved them. He spoke of the leaps forward in botany thanks to research done at the Indiana Dunes, of the astonishing breakthroughs in tropical ecology at the Smithsonian Research Station in Panama, and of the important work being done in a small corner of South Carolina that reverted to wilderness after a nuclear reactor was decommissioned. None of these places is inherently more interesting than any other place; they just happen to be places where someone thought to ask important questions. Each of these places is now protected, thanks to someone convincing others to notice them and to care about them. He asked us to consider the relationship between questions and place: what questions are we compelled to ask in particular places? How might our own place become extraordinary simply by our having noticed it and loved it? To emphasize this point he shared a quote from Aldo Leopold: “The weeds in a city lot convey the same lesson as the redwoods.” As an urban ecologist, Dr. Ryan closed our evening with a call to love whatever places we happen to find ourselves, whether or not we consider them to be “nature.” Nature is all around us, from the overgrown empty lot down the street to the field of corn or soybeans out in the country to the vast expanses of Lake Michigan, and everywhere in between. And if we truly want to love a place, we must first really get to know it, because we cannot love what we do not know.

In a culture where many people assume that religion and science are eternally at war, Tuesday’s seminar was a refreshing and timely reminder that each of us, whatever our perspective, is pursuing the same basic goal: we want to discover a passion, we want to find something to love, we want to make meaning out of our lives, we want to make a lasting difference. For many of us, those goals are inspired by religion, but for many others they have different inspirations. When we focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us, when we remember that we share so many of the same basic hopes and dreams, we are reminded that we are all in this world together, that we all inhabit the same beautiful, fragile planet as our only home. And we should probably get serious about protecting it while there’s still time.

Brent Hege

CFV Scholar in Residence and Instructor of Religion

Introductions

Welcome to this inaugural post of my new blog! I’m excited to share with my readers some of the wonderful work we do at Butler University’s Center for Faith and Vocation, specifically our important work of interfaith engagement and vocational discernment. In my posts I hope to explore some of these issues in more depth, share stories from the work of the CFV, introduce you to our CFV Scholars and interfaith leaders on campus and in our community, and much more.

But first, I suppose an introduction is in order. I am the Center for Faith and Vocation Scholar in Residence and Instructor of Religion at Butler, where I’ve taught since 2008. I am a Christian theologian by training, and I identify with the Lutheran Christian tradition as a lifelong member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I did my BA in Religion and History with a minor in Classics at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, my MA in Historical Theology with a minor in New Testament from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and my PhD in Theology at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. I also earned a certificate in German at the Goethe Institut in Dresden, Germany.

At Butler I teach a number of courses related to Christian theology and the Western intellectual tradition, including the First Year Seminar “Faith, Doubt, and Reason” and upper-level courses on God, Evil, Liberation Theologies, Religious Pluralism, and Ecotheology. For several years I also taught Religions of the World and Ethics, the Good Life, and Society, both part of Butler’s Core Curriculum. I directed the 2015-2016 CFV Seminar on the topic of Religion, Race, and Culture, and I am currently directing this year’s Seminar on the topic of Sacred Places: Intersections of Religion and Ecology.

My research focuses on the history of Christian thought, particularly in the period of the Protestant Reformations of the 16th century, 19th-century and early 20th-century Germany, and contemporary American theology. I also dabble in research on theology and culture, theology and science, and theology and secularism. I have published two books and several articles in American and European journals, and I am currently at work on a third book.

I am an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church here in Indianapolis, where I sing in the choir and serve on the Worship Committee and the Pastoral Call Committee. I am also the faculty advisor and a board member for Grace Unlimited, Butler’s Lutheran-Episcopal campus ministry, and I serve on the candidacy committee of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA, which identifies, supports, and evaluates candidates for rostered ministry as pastors and deacons in the ELCA.

I was born and raised outside a small town in Perry County, Pennsylvania, one of only two counties in PA without a traffic light (one was finally installed in 2010, so I suppose that means Forest County wins?), and both sides of my family have deep, deep roots in Perry and Franklin Counties, reaching back to the early 1700s. I am descended from a long line of public school teachers on my father’s side and I am the first on my mother’s side to attend college, an intersection of identities that gives me a profound respect and appreciation for the power and promise of education.

I am a passionate advocate for interreligious engagement and dialogue because I believe that peace and human flourishing begin with understanding. Engagement and dialogue is a vital way of celebrating our diversity while at the same time highlighting how much we ultimately have in common across our very real differences. One of my favorite things about teaching the introductory course in world religions was the opportunity to take students to visit different religious communities right here in Indianapolis and to expose them to the rich diversity and astonishing depth and beauty of our many religious paths.

In my course on Religious Pluralism we focus our attention on the variety of ways Christian theologians have developed to think about and engage the world’s religious traditions. We learn about Christian exclusivism, which insists that Christianity alone is true, about Christian inclusivism, which suggests that Christianity alone possesses the “full” truth but that other religious traditions also contain some “preliminary” or “preparatory” truth, and about various modes of genuinely pluralistic approaches, which hope, each in their own way, to find points of contact and shared values or underlying beliefs within each of the world’s religious traditions, each of which is honored as a unique and equally valid path to truth. One of my favorite images of religious pluralism is found in an old Zen story about a man pointing his finger at the moon. All too often we focus on the finger and forget to look past the finger to the moon itself. This is an illuminating metaphor for how the various religious traditions of the world can be understood as different ways of focusing our attention on the ultimate reality, the “really real,” each from their own unique location and with their own histories, symbols, rituals, ways of living, and worldviews. The “fingers” really are different and can’t be interchanged, but they are all pointing at the same “moon.” This is a metaphor I will be exploring in more detail in future posts.

Here at Butler we have several thriving student religious communities, including Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, mainline Protestants, several evangelical groups, and secular students, each seeking to help students navigate their undergraduate years while enriching their religious and philosophical commitments. Some of the religious communities seek out opportunities for interfaith engagement, while others prefer to tend to their own communities’ needs. But all are engaged in important and meaningful work of spiritual formation and vocational discernment, study and activism, worship and prayer, fellowship and bonding.

Several years ago Butler introduced the CFV Scholarship, which is a financial scholarship awarded to incoming first-year students who demonstrate a passion for interfaith engagement and social activism. We have had Scholars from a number of religious traditions over the years, but most scholars come to us from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. The Scholars, along with Butler’s Interfaith Council, form a vibrant community of students who are committed to their own religious path while also valuing teaching, learning, and working with students of other traditions.

Part of my work with the Scholars will be to foster this interfaith engagement and to work with them to invite more Butler students to engage in interreligious dialogue, learning, and service. Students arrive at Butler from all over the country and from diverse backgrounds, and for many students college is the first time they have had sustained interactions with people from profoundly different backgrounds and life experiences. Making personal connections to people from different backgrounds is often the first important step toward building bridges of understanding and respect, so we have a wonderful opportunity here at the CFV to facilitate that work of building bridges and forging deep and lasting friendships between our students of different faiths. I’m excited to play a role in that work as the CFV Scholar in Residence.

Now that you have a better sense of who I am, where I’m coming from, and the kind of work we do at the CFV, I hope you will return regularly to check up on the good and interesting work we do at the CFV!

Until next time…

Brent Hege, PhD

CFV Scholar in Residence and Instructor of Religion

By Maham Nadeem

This year I served in the role of interfaith intern at the Center of Faith and Vocation. Through my experiences I was able to not only gain knowledge about different faith traditions, but also about my own management strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, the majority of my time was spent planning for a campus wide interfaith program. One of the challenges I often face in large group oriented projects such as this is being able to delegate and lead professionally. I have the tendency to take over group work and do the majority of it myself. Keeping this in mind, I made a conscious effort to delegate work and make sure that every person on the council could share ownership of the program. To spearhead this whole concept in the spirit of group collaboration, I instructed everyone to brainstorm two ideas and then partnered council members into groups to chose one idea among all the options. Subsequently, each group presented the concept they chose and all together the council narrowed down on one of the ideas. Collectively, we decided to hold a fair on the Jordan mall with stalls concentrating on music, art, clothing, discussion, and children’s books. We called it “A Fun Fair to Further Faith with Friends.”

To keep this post short and sweet, I will skip the descriptions of all the planning and brainstorming meetings and skip to the day of the fair. All in all, it was a success from my perspective. Best of all, I was leading but not taking over or controlling. Every member of the council was attentive and helpful. Because of that, there was a charm and energy in the crowd that would not have been possible without their active involvement and excitement. Moreover, because we were in such a central location, we were able to attract a lot of people to our event. Ultimately, the most important part of such an effort is ensuring that a targeted audience is able to attend and we were able to accomplish that.

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