Multifaith Interns create impactful projects for the Elon community

Each intern worked to enhance multifaith understanding on campus, plan events and engage in intentional interfaith dialogue.

From a small-group nature-based spirituality event to a visual display about how students experienced the on-campus celebration of Holi, the 2022-23 cohort of Multifaith Interns for the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life created meaningful ways to engage the Elon community with the diversity of religious, spiritual and ethical identities on campus.

The outgoing cohort, Ashley Burnett ‘25, Ashley Josey ‘25, Clara Watkins ’25, Jasmine Walker ’25 and Sandoh Ahmadu ’25, helped to plan the Truitt Center’s festival series including the Green Tara Sand Mandala, Diwali, the Festival of Lights and Luminaries, Purim, Holi and Eid al-Fitr, as well as the Ripple Interfaith Conference. Interns also engaged with their peers through multifaith connection meetings to deepen their own understanding of different religious and spiritual identities, and also completed a personal project.

Clara Watkins ’25, worked with the Truitt Center professional team to help plan Numen Lumen: A Thursday Inspiration every week.

“Working with Numen Lumen has been such an impactful and meaningful experience and has also given me insight on how to reach out to people in a more intentional way,” Watkins said. “The theme this year has been so inspirational and hearing the stories of so many people — specifically the womxn-identifying people — has motivated me to keep asking questions about people’s stories.”

The Multifaith 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.

Creating space for community is a passion for Jasmine Walker ’25, so she created a project that would allow Elon students to escape the busyness of the campus and just relax.

Boba Tea Pop-Up in the Numen Lumen Pavilion

“I kept thinking of what I was passionate about, while also finding something that I felt was needed here at Elon,” Walker said. “That is when I thought of creating a hangout space where people could escape and just relax. I created Boba Tea study break pop-ups to allow people to take a deep breath and relax with some tea and cookies.”

Walker’s spring pop-up brought around 85 people into the McBride Gathering Space to eat and drink, engage in mindful coloring, play with slime and mochi squishies and just relax.

Ashley Josey ’25 created a small-group collaborative event with Way of Belonging, a local eco-spirituality group.  Students gathered near the Elon Community Garden to engage in somatic mindfulness and meditation experiences, followed by individual and shared reflections.

Intern Site Visit to Bluestem Conservation Cemetary

A growing number of students on campus are interested in exploring nature traditions, so Josey focused on bridging connections within the community at Elon to “make a space for students to engage with eco-spirituality while sowing seeds for a sense of community.” Josey also identified the next steps for community building, mindfulness practice and “framing of nature-based practices as both intersectional and widely diverse expressions.”

Intern Ashley Burnett ’24 created a visual display (now in the lobby of the Numen Lumen Pavilion) to explore the ways in which Elon students engaged with the Hindu festival of Holi, which took place at Elon on March 24.

“The stories that we tell are imperative to our daily lives as we experience events in different ways,” Burnett said. “My goal is to share a glimpse of the numerous narratives that Elon students have when participating in the celebrations that we have on campus. This exhibit is to show the beauty behind the perspective of individuals as well as the learning we partake in outside of the classroom.”

“The interns’ projects this year exemplify multifaith at Elon,” said Hillary Zaken, interim assistant dean of Multifaith Engagement, “Multifaith work is about building relationships and authentic engagement with meaning, value, and purpose. Each of the interns explored their own identity, learned about others’ practices, and through this work has become an ambassador for the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.”