Zandra - a Role Model for Students & Colleagues

If you’re a staff person wondering how interfaith work can look on your campus, look no further than our friend, Zandra Wagoner. What we love about this profile is how it expresses Zandra’s keen ability to both serve students on the ground and create institutional change—all through genuine, warm relationships. If you are in a student-service role and reading this article, this video is for you. Here are a few ways you might use it: 

  1. This video can provide a vision for interfaith work on campus to both students and colleagues who are less familiar. If you are trying to mobilize those around you to engage in interfaith work, use this video to help you advocate for its importance. “Interfaith” isn’t often a term used in the vernacular, so this video illustrates what is meant by the idea and how it is a value-added to campus life and culture. You might draw out the quote, “We actually become better students [and] better facilitators of learning when religious and nonreligious diversity is part of the air.” Ask folks why they think that might be, how they see that evidenced in the video, and how your own community might use interfaith work to leverage the ability to build positive relationships across lines of difference.  
  2. If you have a team of people dedicated to interfaith work, share this video with them and host a discussion about it to stir energy and inspire. It’s hard to watch Zandra’s story without seeing yourself in her, as well as being inspired by what she’s able to accomplish. You’ll notice that one success featured in the video is the building of an interfaith center. This type of goal can only be the product of a “long game” of interfaith work. Relationships had to be built, culture had to be established, and a sustained institutional commitment had to be forged. Reflect on those things with your own team: where do you see yourselves playing the “long game,” and how might you double down your efforts? What would success look like to you, and what’s your road map to getting there? 
  3. When times are tough, share this video far and wide to remind people that goodness is near and we’re not alone. Inevitably, there will be those moments when this work ebbs rather than flows. Sometimes individuals who work tirelessly for social change can feel burnt out and wonder if what we’re doing has an impact. As a collective, sometimes the news cycle knocks the wind out of our sails and effectively convinces us that we’re doomed to an uphill battle. Whether you’re feeling these privately and simply need to bookmark this video to come back to when you need hope, or whether you sense that your entire community might benefit from a hopeful reminder that we belong to one another—use this video.

#Interfaith is a self-paced, online learning opportunity designed to equip a new generation of leaders with the awareness and skills to promote interfaith cooperation online. The curriculum is free to Interfaith America readers; please use the scholarship code #Interfaith100. #Interfaith is presented by IFYC in collaboration with ReligionAndPublicLife.org.

 

more from IFYC

Lessons from Thich Nhat Hanh, the person who nominated Martin Luther King Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize and encouraged King to speak out against the war in Vietnam.
What Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and activist Thich Nhat Hanh taught me about the power of mindful breathing through art.
A scholar of democratic virtues explains why Dominican monk Thomas Aquinas’ thoughts on hope are relevant today.
From covering spirituality in Silicon Valley to writing an online newsletter about her own journey to Judaism, reporter Nellie Bowles keeps finding innovative ways to reflect on religion and technology.
Six ways religious and spiritual leaders can help the internet serve their communities right now.
At the request of his editors at Religion News Service, Omar Suleiman writes about waiting with hostages’ families.
Regardless of what happens on Capitol Hill, the PNBC leaders said they plan to lobby Congress in March and register voters weekly in their congregations and communities.
King’s exasperation at self-satisfied white Christians holds up a mirror that is still painfully accurate today.
A day before the U.S. Senate was expected to take up significant legislation on voting rights that is looking likely to fail, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eldest son condemned federal lawmakers over their inaction.
The congregation’s rabbi, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, is particularly well connected to the larger interfaith community and on good terms with many Muslim leaders.
For Martin Luther King Day, an interfaith panel reflects on the sacredness of the vote and the legacy of Reverend King.
In his new book, Princeton historian Julian E. Zelizer reexamines the life of Abraham Joshua Heschel and finds lessons for interfaith political activism today.
King drew criticism from Billy Graham, who told journalists that he thought King was wrong to link anti-war efforts with the civil rights movement.
Some are calling out historical injustices the church has carried out against Native Americans, even as others find their faith empowering.
IFYC’s Vote is Sacred campaign launched on January 13. Faith leaders, public intellectuals, activists, and organizers are joining to advocate for an inclusive, nonpartisan interfaith approach to restoring and protecting our democracy.
One out of five Muslims is in an interfaith relationship, surveys suggest. But few imams are willing to conform the traditional Muslim wedding ceremony to their needs, couples say.
In her popular podcast series, Corrigan invites guests to wonder about 'the elephant in America's living room': belief and religion. 'I hope I have a hundred more conversations like these in 2022 and beyond,' she says.
In his annual address to the Vatican's diplomatic corps, the pope stressed the individual's responsibility 'to care for ourself and our health, and this translates into respect for the health of those around us.'
The very people who have been subject to the worst of the United States have embodied its best.
The Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol drew recent attention to the phenomenon of Christian nationalism, but religious and spiritual leaders acknowledge its existence long before that.
A new interfaith curriculum designed for Christian universities and seminaries recently got a test run. One professor who tried it says it's opened hearts and minds: "The desire is very much there."

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.