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The Weekly Column for February 8, 2023
A Unique Perspective by Jonah Lenahan '26, CSSJ Student Intern
Hello, reader! My name is Jonah Lenahan, and I’m excited to be writing for the newsletter. Just a disclaimer before we go on: I am a first-year. Every time I introduce myself, I feel the need to point out just how green I am to the college world. Whether this means I offer a “unique perspective” or to take my words with a grain of salt, I’ll let you make that choice yourself.
I feel like we don’t talk enough about the view from Denny 311. Of all the rooms on campus, this one takes the cake for me. Its windows open up from a vantage point just above the roofs of Carlisle. We hear about city skylines all the time, but the skyline of a small town has just as much to say to us. All the slate and tile roofs ripple like dusty waves in the afternoon sun. No doubt you’re catching on to my tendency to daydream. Now, I’m a religion major, so what I always notice are the steeples and towers of the churches. I can see the white and blue spire of the Episcopal church, St. John’s, the Italian renaissance style of First Lutheran, where I spend my Sundays, the dome of the United Church of Christ.
The church is not the building. My Dad is a Lutheran pastor, and if there’s one feature of his sermons I remembered as a little kid, it's this. For most people, Christian or not, the building is all they ever see. One of the reasons I’m working in the CSSJ is to change that for Dickinson students. I’d like to begin by reaching out to students who come from the so-called Mainline Protestant traditions: Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopals, Presbyterians, etc. But that’s no barrier to anyone. The church is people. If you’re a person, you’re welcome. Come and see. We meet on Sunday mornings. If you want somebody to tag along to worship with you, I’d be happy to. If you’re not sure how to start, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Weekly Column for February 1, 2023
Thoughts on the Future by Molly Gun '24, CSSJ Student Intern
For someone who tends to habitually overthink the future, it really should not have come as shock to me that things are starting to get serious now. As a second semester junior, when my professors talk, it’s no longer of my future at Dickinson, it’s of my future period. I’m no longer bookmarking cool career opportunities on my laptop, I’m actively looking into them. I know, I know. Real adult stuff happening here.
I’m not sure how I feel about this sudden shift. It seems the more I try to figure it out, the more that meaning evades me, and I’m making a real effort not to be so bothered by that. Amidst everything that I don't know and the lessons that I haven't yet gotten to learn, what I do know is that it is pointless to believe you will always be the captain of your own life. Ok, yes, you are in control of yourself and I encourage living as if you're the main character (you are), but the bottom line is that there will always be factors of life that cannot be manipulated by oneself. The thing is, I think that's ok. I don't know where I’ll be living or what I’ll be doing after Dickinson. Dickinson was my only plan. There's something equally as beautiful about this as it is unnerving. I know I’ll do my best to rise to the occasion, I just might be shaking a bit.
What I can do is make the most of this semester. Take as much as I can from my classes, throw myself into my extracurriculars, cherish the memories I will make. I hope we all can. May we all take this semester in as it comes, and may life allow us to be active participants in our own uncertainty. May we feel that things are happening for us and not to us, and through everything, may we all just enjoy the ride.
The Weekly Column for January 25, 2023
The Threat of Groundhog Day by Dr. Cody Nielsen, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice
Every single semester begins with the hope anew. There are new classes, new faces, crisp books, and of course the ability to forget about the past pains and sufferings of the previous semester(s). It makes us so excited to jump into anything and everything, so much so that we make commitments that “this semester will be better” and “I’ll do this and that and everything because I have time THIS SEMESTER”. And oh, how quickly we remember the things we do to ourselves and the realities of what becomes of the time we have in college. Oh, for a different way of being, but so often it is but a repeat.
This narrative sounds pretty depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. We can break that cycle. The first thing we can do is remind ourselves that in fact college is hard, and that it is going to serve as a full time “job” for us (once again). If you are first year student, you will soon realize that the fall might have been a little less busy than the reality of the next several semesters. Once we embody that reality, we can make active choices to not take on too many responsibilities, to push ourselves to NOT be overwhelmed, and to, in some ways, mentally prepare. In essence, we can actually remember the past and know that it is both reality of what has been and a set of lessons for us to stop the cycle moving forward.
The winter/spring semester always goes faster. It’ll be February in a few short days, then out of nowhere March is here with spring break, then April, the month where events seem to spawn everywhere, and finally May. So, realizing all that, just slow down. Be diligent in saying no. Find ways to break your cycle of overcommitment and know we’re all in for a ride. But some of those rides can be eased by making good choices right now and not diving in too deep. Otherwise, the same thing is going to happen as it did last semester, and the semester before, and the semester before that.
You’ve been warned, but also reminded. Welcome to Spring 2023!
The Weekly Column for December 13, 2022
Ending Well by Dr. Cody Nielsen, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice
Last spring, while at a reception for honoring the end of the year, a particular faculty member summed up the beauty of higher education in a single sentence: “No matter how the semester has gone, higher education is the only field that ends twice a year”. In 15 years of higher education, it is one of the clearest descriptions of what I have experienced. Higher education is tough, college is tough, finals are tough, life in the academy is tough. But it’s worth it.
When I started college, they told me it would be “the time of my life”. And while now more than 20 years since beginning the journey as a student, I don’t know if I have ever truly felt higher education meet that statement. Higher education has been powerful, transformative, and worth most of the time I’ve spend in it, but it is a tedious and at times very traumatizing environment which has yet to meet the moment of identity-based equity and to simply be a space where everyone is truly able to thrive. Instead, higher education is largely a field where checking boxes and jumping through hoops is commonplace.
But I do believe in the hope of higher education and the possibilities that we can turn this around. My hope is that perhaps this can emerge in a new semester. For now, we just simply know what we have in front of us to finish and even to “survive”. The finals that we take this week and the papers we turn in are acts of resistance to a system that can at times feel like it’s trying to crush us. We rise to the occasion, we fight for that which we need, and we make it through the end of the semester. We end well, and do so because no matter what, the semester is going to end. And for all the challenges that have come, it is going to end soon.
I wish you all the best this week. End well. Resist the willingness to give up. Know that there is hope in higher education, even when it definitely doesn’t feel like the time of your life and when all you want to do is crawl into your bed or get on a plane and be anywhere but here. Fight for that which you are earning: a degree and a course grade from that professor who has been pushing you all semester to be your best. This is the week folks where it all comes together. And if you bring your best, even when you feel tired and are so tired, you can end well. Because it’s going to end. It’s up to you how it ends this semester.
The Weekly Column for November 29, 2022
The Intrigue of Cultural Differences: Processing a Culture of Individualism as Someone From a Collectivist One by Tejust Thapa '23, CSSJ Student Intern
The contrasts in cultures around the world is a dynamic that arouses immense fascination amongst people. Although differing person to person, the variation in values and customs and how individuals carry their relationships with others tend to be somewhat impacted by the cultural background people are from. Western society has been largely oriented towards a more independent approach regarding how members of various communities engage with one another, especially so when measured along the lines of Eastern civilizations. Studying abroad is a very empowering experience, but it becomes an even more compelling one when done at a culture very different from one’s own.
To originate from the foothills of the Himalayas in Asia as a part of what is a largely collectivist way of life to then make way towards the USA (which could arguably be determined as the most individualistic one in the world for its socio-political values and institutions) is an experience that is certainly beyond one’s zone of comfort yet serves to become one that helps us grow as people. Sensing a strong sense of willingness to prioritize one’s own state of fulfillment over that of a group, the urge to establish boundaries between personal relationships, and the choices that are made to accommodate one’s own happiness although it may come at the cost of the group are some of the many components of what leads to an experience that is indeed quite captivating for all that it brings. With such empowering experiences, we learn to embrace our differences and empathize in each other’s struggles, while leading more fulfilling lives with the growth we acquire as well. Celebrating one’s own culture comes naturally to most, but to learn to commemorate that of others is a truly special ability.
The Weekly Column for November 15, 2022
Finding Myself by Katarina Swendrowski '24, CSSJ Student Intern
We are now past the halfway point of the semester, and as assignments approach their deadlines and my obligations start to pile up, I continue to discover aspects of myself.
I have always been highly involved in my school community; this year is no different. Alongside my academics and CSSJ, I have a variety of other commitments that engulf my time, including multiple executive positions. Throughout this year, those commitments have taught me things about myself that I previously did not put as much thought into. Among those topics of realization are compassion and community. I continue to ask myself, "How do I decide to move about the world I live in and contribute to my community?".
I have begun to think critically about why I continue volunteering my time and energy to so many obligations and commitments that are often less fulfilling than I would like them to be. Yes, being extremely involved may look good on a resume, give me name recognition, and have all the life experience. And yes, being generous to those in my life may be self-serving. But I must ask myself, why do I actually do these things? I am at the point in my self-realization where I have started to discover that answer. I do all these things because I want to be helpful, I do not want to let those around me down, and, most importantly, I am compassionate. I cannot simply say, "it is not my problem", especially when nobody else chooses to do the work I know I am capable of doing well. I want to contribute to my community and bring pleasure to those around me. Yet, this year more than ever, I have learned that my continuous compassion may not always be worth my limited time and the suffering of my mental health. I realize I continue to be stretched thin, and my kindness is often taken for granted, especially by those closest to me.
I understand I have been through a great deal that has altered the course of my life. I choose to be compassionate to others because I do not want anybody to feel the pain I had to endure, and I keep myself so busy with commitments that I do not overthink my sadder moments. Yet, I need to ground myself and critically reflect. I must learn to step back and focus on what truly brings me pleasure instead of focusing on everybody else's needs. I must give myself time to relax, even though I am not too fond of the thought of being alone in my mind. I must understand that I may not truly love everything I do, just the idea. Most importantly, I need space with myself and for myself, away from the world that I have become so deeply immersed in, to begin to better find myself.
The Weekly Column for November 8, 2022
Thoughts on the Interntational Potluck by Abhik Shrestha '25, CSSJ Student Intern
I had been to the International Potluck twice last year, so I was really excited to meet people and try food from different cultures this year as well. As a part of Multifaith week, the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice had been working on multiple events, including this one. I was eager to see the event unfold!
The event started off with people registering outside of Social Hall. People were directed to label their food and place it in a separate place before taking their seats. We started off the event with some introductions and played a few games. Then, we feasted on some delicious foods from different cultures. I might have even found my favorite drink at the event - a plum concentrate syrup that you’re supposed to mix with water to make a drink.
This semester has been tough, so I got the chance to catch up with old friends and meet new people as well during the event. I’ve always enjoyed coming to the International Potluck and this year wasn’t any different.
The Weekly Column for November 1, 2022
The Paradigm of Self-Growth in College by Tejus Thapa '23, CSSJ Student Intern
Making one’s way into the higher education has always remained a stimulating ordeal. From transitioning as someone who has lifelong been supported by our guardians, to having to navigate around our environment independently, the variations in experiences remain noteworthy just as the extent of growth proves to persist as well. Through developing our communication skills and adapting the way we approach numerous obstacles, we grow to face all challenges amidst the strive to achieve academic excellence. This also shapes us and braces us for what is to come in the “real world”. Nonetheless, it remains to be a time when we humble ourselves by making the occasional mistake while taking on major responsibilities.
The financial burden of student loans and losing sight of what truly matters while working your way through a social environment of young people all mean that despite its very rewarding qualities, college remains to be a provoking time for ones vices while also being one for virtues. Growing to see the world from perspectives that are different from our own, embracing ones inner love for learning, and going out and having fun leads to memories being made while one becomes more prepared to face the world that is waiting to face them as well. But what will always distinguish higher education is that it is a stage that is so foundational for the rest of our lives. Going into college, one finds their way by asking so many questions about what they want to do with their lives. By the time they graduate, they leave with with the flexibility to achieve a lot of who they aspire to become. The paradigm of contentiousness in college persists, but who comes out a paragon varies.
The Weekly Column for October 25, 2022
Turning the Corner by Dr. Cody Nielsen, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice
As the semester kicks into its second act, we often find ourselves at a variety of points. Some of us need to simply let go from what has already occurred in the early part of the semester. Others of us, full of energy and stoking the fire of excitement, need to embody the weeks that have been while digging into the realities of what is to come in the form of tests, papers, and stress. For those who are first year students and have just made it past your first few weeks of college, know that what you’ve been immersed in is the first salvo in a wildly unpredictable roller coaster of the academic calendar. But either way, it’s time to turn the corner as we face the second half that is to be.
Turning toward this second half of the fall semester is always a reminder that we are heading into the busiest part of the fall, with many responsibilities to manage and likely some serious stress coming our ways. We have a lot to hold onto. We also must start building a list of things we just simply can’t hold onto. And that’s where I’d like to introduce you to the “don’t do” list.
The don’t do list is pretty straight forward. When you start to think about things that you want to do (like watch the Star Wars movies back-to-back-to-back…) you write it down on the don’t do it list. You get the urge to read War and Peace (and it’s not an assigned reading) you put it on the “don’t do” list. Simply put, it’s time to buckle down, and while that shouldn’t mean your entire life is your work, one must not get overly distracted while you are traversing this semester.
That don’t do list can be done over that long 4 week break we have in December. You won’t even think about papers and tests during that time (your professors don’t). You’ll have a chance to relax and recharge. But right now, we’re about to go deep into it. And I invite you to fight for your balance and maintain your own self in these weeks leading into the end of the fall! And if you need to talk, process, or simply be, come and see me. I’m happy to talk and process life with you.
The Weekly Column for October 19, 2022
Out on Britton by Leslie Mazzeno '24, CSSJ Student Intern
Last Tuesday, the CSSJ celebrated National Coming Out Day alongside the Dickinson community at the Office of LGBTQ+ Services' annual Out on Britton event. During the event, we asked students to answer the following question: How does your religious, secular, or spiritual identity intersect with or influence your LGBTQ+ identity? I had originally intended to write this article as a reflection on a handful of the responses, highlighting both the positives and negatives. However, as I was reading through the board, one answer truly stuck with me:
"I hope I am reincarnated into another trans body."
As I read these words, I smiled, and I'll admit I began to cry (more than) a little. I live every day with my own trans body. Sometimes I hate it; it feels as though it would be so much easier to just have been born with everything right. But as I read, I felt something I so rarely experience: euphoria. Despite everything, this is who I am meant to be. Through the good and the bad, the successes and the struggles, I would not be me without my trans body.
For so many LGBTQ+ people, religion has been traumatizing, and that is reflected in the responses to the CSSJ's question. But for others, religion is a reclamation of joy and a tool through which to truly celebrate all we are. Every person is intersectional, and all our identities influence others. I am so thankful for the openness of every student who shared an answer with us at Out on Britton, and I encourage those who did not to reflect upon the question. How does your religious, secular, or spiritual identity intersect with or influence your LGBTQ+ identity?
Read all the responses here: https://tinyurl.com/cssjoutonbritton
The Weekly Column - A Special Announcment
Multifaith Week 2022 by Dr. Cody Nielsen, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice
As we turn the corner into October and the parts of the semester where tests and papers become more frequent, it is a time to celebrate and honor the religious, secular, and spiritual communities of Dickinson College and the larger pluralistic world. It is in that spirit that the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice announces our 2022 Multifaith Week of Events.
This year’s Multifaith Week begins this Friday October 7th with TEN events over seven days. This year’s theme “Come Find Yourself” is a reflection on the ways in which you as individuals can be curious and find new aspects of religious and non-religious identities as a part of your experience at Dickinson.
The week kicks off with several events around the theme of “meeting others” in which there several teaching services, including Jummah, Shabbat, Mass, and Orthodox (Christian) liturgy. Furthermore, there’s a Harvest Moon festival with our Pagan Curious group on Sunday night during the full moon!
Beginning on Sunday and interwoven with these aforementioned events, we move into “celebration” as we decorate the Sukkah at the Asbell Center in preparation for Sukkot, host the first International Potluck of the year, and celebration the annual Out on Britton.
Finally, on Wednesday and Thursday, all Dickinsonians are invited to register for the first “Religious Equity 101” training, a 75 minute training which introduces individuals to implicit biases and potential microaggressions regarding religious, secular, and spiritual identities while including valuable information to consider around social, political, and historical foundations of religion and spirituality. On Thursday night, Dr. Michael Pappas, class of ’83 joins us for a lecture and conversation around faith-based organizing. Hailing from San Francisco, Dr. Pappas is a veteran organizer who currently is Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. His work on coalition building and organizing shouldn’t be missed and the night will be a culmination of religious pluralism here at Dickinson.
Please share with friends and peers alike and checkout out EngageD for all the events happening. RSVP to certain events is encouraged for an accurate count and logistics, and all events are cosponsored by a variety of communities around campus.
The Weekly Column for October 4, 2022
Navigating Our Voyage as International Students by Tejus Thapa '23, CSSJ Student Intern
I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
– Mary Anne Radmacher
Being an international student is so much more than merely just pursuing academic aspirations, it is choosing to leave behind your dear ones at home, letting go of the life you have in many ways grown to love, all while going off to a land very far from your own. We come from different continents, countries, and cultures, yet so many of the struggles we face remain similar. To be able to find a sense of affinity through empathy between each other is an element that remains strong, one that helps us cope with the troubles we face amidst the dynamism of our very new lives. Welcoming new prospects and attempting to make the most out of new opportunities stimulates excitement, but so often so, we are made to strike balances in our lives when just at the later stages of adolescence and the early ones of adulthood as well. There are tough decisions that we make that are even tougher because of our age.
Regardless of this, we come in to engage in this new adventure with excitement and energy, hoping that one day we can have better lives through the education we acquire, the humility we gain, along with the exposure that we obtain through our new experiences. Our struggles are significant, but our perseverance remains firm. Having the ability to let go of so much that remain important to ourselves is an act which we make with our conscience, but it is also one which we sometimes question too as we do remain human. Nevertheless, the dynamism of studying abroad remains extraordinary despite the days being sunny or rainy. Embarking on this voyage so far from what we regard as home is one that rewards us just as it humbles us, but more than that, it is a part of what will make us the people who we aspire to become. We are proud of ourselves.
The Weekly Column for September 27, 2022
Teach Me How to Move by Anna Nasser '25, CSSJ Student Intern
I was six years old when we found the dead dog in the backyard.
She walked mile upon mile,
farmhouse upon old colonial,
Until finally the black lab inhaled her last breath.
Her joints shook as she laid down to die,
tucking herself to sleep under our broken swingset.
It’s a good place to die,
I was twelve years old when I fell in love for the first time.
I watchedyear after year,
anniversary after anniversary,
yearning for the kind of love my parents have.
I pushed my braids behind unpierced ears,
thinking “One day I’ll be just like them”.
It’s good place to learn how to love,
I was seventeen years old when I left my home for the first time.
We drove hour upon hour,
corn field upon cow farm,
the car buzzed down the highway as suitcases shake through the trunk.
I’ve learned to lose,
I’ve learned to love,
But I still haven’t learned how to move.
Life tells us that if we love something we must let it go,
the comfort of love can hold us back if we aren’t too careful.
so here I am,
I toast my drink to the next me,
freckle upon freckle,
bandaid after bruise,
I hope she loves and loses enough for this house to hold.
I buckle my seat belt,
I blow one last kiss.
It’s a good place to grow up,
Don’t blow it.
The Weekly Column for September 20, 2022
Swimming Against the Current by Leslie Mazzeno '24, CSSJ Student Intern
I am never stationary. I can never sit still, or stop working, or stop moving toward something new. I have lived in seven U.S. states as well as abroad in Germany and Japan. At Dickinson, I am pursuing a double major in American history and religious studies as well as a double minor in Japanese language and music. I play both violin and piano as well as compose and arrange my own music. Since middle school, I have been "the overachiever" in my family, and it is a reputation I am proud of. I am always doing something, no matter what. I am constantly moving from one thing to the next, searching for something better, more exciting, more fulfilling. But you can only swim upstream for so long before the current pulls you back.
I have struggled with joint pain since I was about 10 years old. Slowly, the pain has restricted my ability to run, travel, play my instruments, or even just get out of bed in the morning. I have been misdiagnosed and dismissed out of hand by doctors. I have been blamed for my own pain by people close to me and told it is simply all in my head. I have been fighting against this current for a decade, and sometimes it feels easier to just swim down. But easy does not always mean right. I have kept fighting for myself and refusing to stay silent, and this past summer, I was finally able to see a rheumatologist. I am now undergoing treatment for seronegative spondyloarthritis, a type of autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects the joints. A diagnosis cannot solve every problem, but it is invaluable in helping me understand the current I am swimming against: what is the problem, how should I approach it, and how can I begin to solve it? It is my first stepping stone, the boost I needed to push me forward again.
At this point in the semester, we are writing our first essays, taking our first exams, and anxiously anticipating our midterms. Soon, some of us may begin preparing to study abroad, apply for internships, or start the first job hunt of our careers. We are constantly moving, and some of you may be feeling the pull of the current. It may feel overwhelming. It may feel easier to just swim down. But we need to keep fighting. We need to keep searching for our stepping stones, for us and for others. We need to support each other and our community. Step away from your work, even just for a moment, and take a moment for yourself. Text someone close to you, go out for a meal or a coffee, or take a hot shower. Seek to understand your current: what is the problem, how should I approach it, and how can I begin to solve it? There is no perfect solution, but there are steps we can take together. Keep swimming forward.
The Weekly Column for September 13, 2022
Finding Myself by Katarina Swendrowski '24, CSSJ Student Intern
I like to introduce myself by stating I live by the phrase "find understanding, crave knowledge." I have found that those four words define how I choose to live my life.
When I was 14, I was faced with a tragedy that altered the course of the rest of my life. Shortly after the event occurred, I found the piece of paper my father scribbled with the words "find understanding, crave knowledge." On the surface, they are just words, but the moment I read those four words, my life took a whole new meaning. I began to hunt for a purpose to live my life and to understand the reasons for the tragedies in my life. Many times, I believed I had found an answer to my questions. Yet as my journey through life continues, I realize many of life's questions are meant to be left unanswered.
Life is ever-changing, and I am left discovering new things about myself every day. I continue to ask life questions and continue to receive encrypted answers. At times, this is disheartening, and I often find myself spiraling into the dark abyss of my mind. Yet, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and every question I ask brings me further along on my journey in life.
Thus far, college has been an influential time in working towards defining who I am as an individual and discovering myself. My faith, what I choose to take from it, and how I wish to portray it have been questioned multiple times. As a Catholic, my religion has always been a part of my identity, but in a muted manner where I keep my religion to myself. Recently, I began to challenge many ideas within Catholicism, especially because my life seems to be an endless cycle of constant disappointment met with short glimpses of a silver lining. My work with CSSJ has helped me better orient and discover myself through interacting with many different religious, spiritual, nonreligious, and questioning identities and learning about various identities.
I believe it is essential to keep questioning the world around me and keep an open mind about that world in my identity. I continue to find myself and work towards understanding who I am a little more each day. It is all part of the journey through life.
The Weekly Column for September 6, 2022
Meet the Pagan Curious by Anna Nasser '25, CSSJ Student Intern
I was barely out of the broom closet when I graduated High School, but I started to realize what Paganism meant to me. I sought a community, a place to learn about myself by connecting with others. Every time I introduced myself as Pagan I wore a head covering for protection. This practice, also known as veiling, felt like it was the most important part of getting ready for my day at any tabling event. I felt like I had to form a barrier between myself and the people I would meet in the day. I expected to be disregarded and brushed off, reminded of my unimportance.
One of my favorite books, Circe by Madeline Miller, provides a quote significant to my college experience. Miller starts the book by saying “When I was born, the word for what I was didn’t exist”. When I came to Dickinson, Paganism wasn’t discussed. The lack of visibility allowed us to dwell in the shadows, forgoing our strength in numbers.
So when I was born to Dickinson, I made the word exist. I worked with Marina Stylianou to create the very community I was searching for. Marina and I shed our veils, learning that we could protect ourselves by educating the Dickinson Community. You may not know what Paganism means. You may think you know what it means. You may be wrong, and that’s okay. We are Pagan Curious, a group dedicated to finding ourselves through time together. We are Dickinson’s first Pagan student group, and we aren’t going anywhere.
The Weekly Column for August 30, 2022
A New Beginning by Dr. Cody Nielsen, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice
We are all a product of our stories, including the ones we are writing now…
College is different than almost every other place in society. Out there in the “real world” there really are no defined starts and stops, no chance for a reset, and not nearly enough time to slow down and just take notice of everything that you are becoming. But luckily, here in the college setting, we specialize in all of that.
College is, if you allow it to be, the most transformative experience of your life, at least for now. Having begun my own journey 20 years ago, I can attest that college was the trigger that began a monumental set of changes that have brought me here, even to writing this. My current role, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice as well as an instructor in Religious Studies at Dickinson, is both a byproduct and directly connected to my experience of 4 years of undergraduate education at the University of Northern Iowa.
You are here to discover yourself, and yes you have a lot of classes to do that in. But you also have a lot of extra time. Where some of you will explore many aspects of your identities. And one of them…wait for it…might be whether or not you have any connection to spirituality or secular identities.
Before you delete this email, know this. You have been added because of your status as either a religious or nonreligious person. You might have said on some form that you were an atheist, or agnostic, or that you were Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Shinto, unsure, unaffiliated, and so forth. The Center for Spirituality and Social Justice, we do all of that. And we are getting better and better. And we invite you to help us build out that this is a part of our lived experiences and that there should be conversation, engagement, and discourse around spiritualities and nonreligious identities as a part of being here on a college campus.
So welcome, and know that you are welcome to unsubscribe to this email list as you like, but that each week you will receive information on the many events happening on campus that are both directly related to our communities, and the many other centers around campus (including throughout the Office of Equity and Inclusion) who will be hosting anything from programs to simply free food (because you are gonna need it).
And if you want to connect, build, explore, or simply talk, please reach out to me at email@example.com.