I was recently one of the student leaders in charge of coordinating a seminar trip to the United Nations headquarters in New York City. My friend Chelsea and I put together a team of 12 extraordinary students that are from various religious backgrounds and are active in Saint Rose community service. As a team, we went to New York City to learn from local, national, and international experts about the intersections of faith and service.
The purpose of the trip was to expose ourselves to different religions than our own, learn from them and share with one another along the way. As a team, we worked with Hour Children, an organization that provides services and shelter for formerly incarcerated women and their families. We helped with their after-school program and entertained the children. We had group discussions at the end of each day to talk about what we learned and how it surprised or impacted us.
This trip was important because it was designed to draw us closer to one another despite our religious diversity. We will be taking on President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. The challenge consists of a year-long committment to interfaith service. Our team is ready to make that committment on behalf of the College of Saint Rose.
The trip was almost two weeks ago, but I am so glad that we still keep in contact with one another. This past Sunday, we went to two churches – United Methodist church, then a Baptist church- to experience different types of services together. Then, a few of my group members came to my Golden Notes concert that evening. We have also gone to lunch to talk about our future plans regarding community service and interfaith work. I am excited that I had the opportunity to work with such great individuals and am excited to build upon these new friendships.
Video from President Obama about the Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge: