A place for people of faith and no-faith to explore shared values, build respect and mutually inspiring relationships, and pursue common action for the common good

Another year done!

In Better Together, Elmhurst College, Interfaith on May 16, 2011 at 6:00 am

This is my last post on this blog as Interfaith Youth Core Fellow, next year, I will continue coordinating the blog however, as Secretary of the Spiritual Life Council. Next year, this blog will be again tracking the work of the Better Together Campaign and will also be a face of the Spiritual Life Council. We will be hosting guest blogs from Spiritual Life Council members, members of next year’s B2G steering committee, and EC Community members to continue working to make interfaith cooperation the social norm at Elmhurst as the college moves into a theme year focusing on Democracy and Civic Engagement. If you are interested in becoming a guest contributor or working on the campaign or with SLC, let me know!

Rachel (“Rae”) Nelson is a junior at Elmhurst College, pursuing a major in Political-Religious Justice Studies. You can follow Rae on Twitter at (@PhosphrescntRae) where she posts about faith, gender and sexuality, and American Indian issues in addition to interfaith matters. To see more of Rae, please visit the Elmhurst College Interfaith blog at ecinterfaith.wordpress.com.

I have been honored to work with IFYC at Elmhurst this year, organizing my peers and community to make a difference in the world using our shared faith and philosophical values, beyond doing physical service work at the People’s Resource Center throughout the spring semester’s Better Together Campaign, we also built relationships through conversation about and exploration of one another’s values and faith and philosophical traditions at the What If…? Speak In last fall. I especially loved that, this year, my college was able to interact with the larger Elmhurst Community around faith and interfaith issues through the Still Speaking: Conversations on Faith lecture series of the College.

The year has been full of social events, like Western Night, during Orientation, and the Bon Fire in October, events around education, like Got Faith? Week, many SLC meetings, and the What If…? Speak In. The fall of 2010 was all about asking questions, while the spring was focused on service and action work, like Dr. Ray suggested to us at the opening SLC meeting of the school year.

Better Together Bash and Benefit

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Thank you to all those who came out to the Elmhurst College Better Together Bash and Benefit last week! We had some good conversations about poverty, faith, and what we can do. We also gathered lots of donations (which I am taking to People’s Resource Center THIS WEEK Thursday- so if you still have money or maxi pads or diapers to donate, let me know as soon as possible at ecinterfaith[at]gmail[dot]com.

Peace,

Rachel Nelson

Rosa Parks Internship

In Elmhurst College, Niebuhr Center, Social Justice on April 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

This is a piece written for the Elmhurst College student Newspaper, The Leader. It is about my experiences thus far this year as Rosa Parks Intern for Social Justice with the Niebuhr Center at Elmhurst College— a center at EC that “encourages social engagement among faith-motivated individuals from diverse religious backgrounds through a variety of programs and activities.”

Several years ago, the NAACP had a marketing campaign that included posters reading “Rosa Parks was nobody special…until she took a stand by keeping her seat.” Unpacking that, Rosa Parks knew of injustices happening around race, but she was a bystander, a normal, everyday person– until she decided not to be. Each year, the Niebuhr Center guides two students to work on our campus around Social Justice work- the students are supported as interns, one focusing on international issues (named the “Gandhi” intern) and one focusing on domestic issues (the “Rosa Parks” intern). In accepting the Rosa Parks Internship with the Niebuhr Center this past year, I had two goals: I wanted to learn more about violence in American Indian Communities and produce academic research around this topic so I can begin to take action around the issue, but I also wanted to make sure conversation and action around social justice issues continued to be in the fabric of our college culture. I wanted to help my peers understand that we are all “nobody special”…until we take a stand in something we believe in.

Yes, commitment to social justice and upholding of values is part of our college’s mission and values statements, as well as the strategic plan, but how are those values shown in the day-to-day of student life? I’ve noticed, in my 2.5 years at Elmhurst that there is a deep passion for truly making change in the world and defying the power structures that perpetuate injustice, but this passion only comes to the surface- to visible action in a small handful of students. I challenge you: what do you care about? What could you speak out about to make the world a more whole and just place?