Allyship Across Faith
When Rachel Miles first stepped foot at Vanderbilt University, little did she know that she would one day end up working as a David Project intern.
Growing up in a Christian home from the city of Cleveland, Ohio, Rachel came to Vanderbilt knowing she would want to have a role in the Christian community. As a prominent leader in Wesley Methodist Group, Rachel believed that religious groups need to reach out to one another and that allyship and collaboration were necessary on a college campus. It was through this passion that Rachel would become the Interfaith Council President at Vanderbilt University. Once she heard about The David Project, Rachel immediately saw the parallels of our mission and hers:
“As president of the interfaith council, I spent most of the summer and this semester trying to figure out how to get more involved on-campus with hands-on interfaith programming,” Rachel said. “The David Project seemed like a really great and collaborative space for that, actively working all the time to keep momentum going, and I really was excited to become a part of that team as a continuation of what I was already trying to do for interfaith work.”
Throughout this school year, students across the David Project network have been developing personal one-on-one relationships with leaders from the Christian community, and planning collaborative programming together. In total, David Project interns have organized 32 events with the Christian communities in the fall semester, for example the annual Chrismukkah event at Michigan State to Good Deeds day at Rutgers University.
One campus, for example, where David Project interns have recently began developing a relationship with the Christian community is Johns Hopkins University.
Since the start of the semester, the Hopkins intern team has developed an incredible relationship with their Christian collegiate counterparts. Before the semester concluded, The David Project partnered with the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and organized a program to introduce the two communities to each other. Additionally, the students traveling to Israel this winter on Israel Uncovered asked their peers to write notes for them to place in the Western Wall when they are in Jerusalem. One student that helped plan this event was the President of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Luca Bertozzi.
When asked what he thought about the partnership she helped form with the Israel community at Johns Hopkins this past semester, Luca informed us that “Since working with friends from the David Project, I'm reminded time and time again that we are all human, more similar than we may at first realize. We ought to respect and love each other, not for what we are, but for who we are. There is so much to learn from each other, so much joy to gain, and so much life to share by connecting with people of different faith backgrounds, and it's been a true blessing to experience this myself."
We couldn’t agree more! Continue following our blog to read more about what leaders like Luca and Rachel are doing to bring communities together on campus.