Elon’s Multifaith Internship has a focus on how experiential learning fosters multifaith understanding.
The new cohort of multifaith interns for the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life have begun their year with an immersive retreat, and a focus on how cooperation and collaboration foster learning, appreciation and greater understanding.
Multifaith interns at Elon learn through experience, interaction and exercising respectful curiosity about the diverse religious and spiritual identities represented on Elon’s vibrant campus. This year’s cohort members are Sandoh Ahmadu ‘25, Ashley Burnett ‘25, Ashley Josey ‘25, Jasmine Walker ‘25 and Clara Watkins ‘25.
The interns are responsible for creating space, building and cultivating relationships, leading programs, and facilitating learning opportunities about religious and spiritual identities and experiences on campus and beyond.
The cohort will work with the professional team at The Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life to create meaningful celebrations of diverse religious programs and festivals such the Green Tara Sand Mandala (September 14-16, 2022), Diwali (October 25, 2022), the Festival of Lights and Luminaries (November 29, 2022), the Ripple Interfaith Conference (February 17-19, 2023), Ramadan (March 2023) and Yom HaShoah (April 18, 2023).
Intern Ashley Josey ‘25 is excited about connecting with other members of the Elon community, and learning about how others view the world and navigate their personal journeys. “When I learned about this internship, I saw an opportunity to grow in my understanding of diverse cultures, traditions, and identities while giving back to the Elon community in a really intentional way,” Josey said.
That intentional relationship building and collaboration is the explicit goal of the internship for all the student participants, with the goal of enhancing Elon’s multfaith campus community.
“Multifaith at Elon means more than just planning large events. It’s also about the work of building relationships, engaging with meaning, value, and purpose in a spirit of openness and exploration, and all kinds of spiritual exploration and education for community members of diverse and intersectional identities,” said Hillary Zaken, interim assistant dean of Multifaith Engagement who supervises the interns and guides their work.
The Multifaith interns participated in a collaborative retreat with the cohort of Spirit and Pride interns and their staff advisors, Luis Garay, director of the LGBTQIA Center, and Rev. Julie Tonnesen, associate university chaplain, on September 9-10. The retreat included a visit to the Sikh Gurdwara of NC in Durham, and plenty of time building connections and laying the ground for a year of multifaith engagement and collaboration.
For intern Clara Watkins ’25, the retreat was the ideal way to start the year. “Multifaith to me is the acceptance of all religious or spiritual beliefs and coming together as a community based off this acceptance. I am excited to work with the amazing Truitt Center and Spirit and Pride folks and learn more about different faiths and spiritualities,” Watkins said.