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Skylar O.

Skyler O.
BA, Anthropology & Philosophy '11

Internship Site:
Compassionate Interfaith Society (CIS)
Cheney, WA

 

How long was your internship?

Working to end intolerance and hate is a lifelong journey. I have a feeling that I will be at this for the rest of my life. Despite this daunting task, I see opportunities to witness the positive potential for good, and that what we have in common exceeds what variations in thought we have.

What were your job duties?

Along with functioning as a student organization on campus, the CIS is unique, in that it is involved with many different and diverse groups in the community, the country, and the world. I oversaw CIS events, as well as planned many of the events with the support of members. I also represented the CIS and EWU to the North American Interfaith Network, the Interfaith Youth Core, and the White House. Most of the time, however, I was busy thinking of creative ideas to make EWU a more compassionate, diverse and religiously literate place.

What were some of the steps you took to find this internship?

It actually found me. There was a need on campus for an interfaith group, to host meetings for students of different faiths in a safe open format, to learn from another. I started the CIS after witnessing acts of religious intolerance on campus. Because of my faith, I believe that if any person's beliefs are threatened, then my own are as well. Keeping this in mind, and believing that through are diverse faiths we can move beyond our differences to make our campus, our communities and ourselves more compassionate.

Over time were there things you did personally to help you prepare for this internship?

The idea of limitless compassion, for all people. You have to be comfortable in your own tradition or faith to be able to reach across the labels and names we give one another and be willing to cultivate a friendship. In interfaith work, you will run into others who do not agree with what you believe. While that may be seen as a challenge to some, it is another opportunity to make a friend, not based on what makes us different, but what we have in common.

Got any personal advice for students who may be a bit nervous about stepping into larger internships, or internships in general?

You are not alone! There are others who are feeling scared and nervous, just like you. Reach out to them, because our strengths come from our similarities, not from our differences. There was a time that I thought I couldn't make a difference here on campus. But I met so many people from around the world who are doing the same thing I am, and we were willing to work together, and help one another.

Also, the most important thing you can have is courage. Courage to stand up for what you feel is right, and the courage to fight for a just cause.

Personal Mantra (7 words or less)?

"Service through Faith & Faith thorough Service"

Any  additional Information?

The CIS meets every Thursday, at noon, in Hargreaves Honors Lounge. Please come and help us make EWU a place of understanding, and an example of what a campus looks like, when its community is focused on the idea of peace, and being a global citizen.

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