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.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

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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.