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Per our mission statement, WCU develops graduates to contribute to the common good, in part by helping students effectively and participate in civic discourse and engage inclusively in a diverse society.

Per our values statement, we affirm the worth and dignity of each member and the shared responsibility of all to treat each other as individuals, with respect and courtesy.

To further enact our mission and values, this project aims to develop a sustainable network of faculty, staff, students, and community members who support the diverse ways students orient around religious and philosophical worldviews in order to make meaning of their lives and connect to the world around them. Though interfaith efforts have been happening organically in various sectors of campus, a new project aims to bring these efforts together collaboratively under an increasingly formalized structure to support, equip, and celebrate interfaith leadership efforts. This new project is called the Interfaith, Meaning-Making, and Spirituality Project.

The project is directed by

Dr. Zachary C. Wooten, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies and
Dr. Matthew Pierlott, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department
with support from The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Goal of the Interfaith, Meaning-Making, and Spirituality Project

This project aims to build a sustainable structure of support for efforts related to interfaith, meaning-making, and spirituality through three primary initiatives:

The Student Interfaith Action Committee

  • (a co-curricular committee)
  • Led by Junior History Major Joe Blaney

The Faculty and Staff Interfaith Advisory Board

  • The WCU Faculty & Staff Advisory Board exists to advocate for and holistically support West Chester University students, faculty, and staff as a means of building cultural competence and working for the common good. We do this by fostering religious pluralism as part of our understanding of diversity and inclusion while addressing xenophobia as well as both reducing and preventing harm.

The Interfaith Leadership Fellows

  • (a paid campus peer educator program housed in partnership with philosophy)

Interfaith Fellows

Rachel Shirk headshot

Rachel Shirk (she/her)

Rachel is an undergraduate at West Chester University majoring in early grades preparation and minoring in civic and professional leadership, literacy, and science in education. Within the Interfaith fellows, she is creating workshops to promote professional development opportunities for education majors and the general West Chester University student body related to Interfaith Leadership. Having a background in Christianity, Rachel wants to work as an Interfaith Leader to learn more about different faiths and bridge gaps between different religious groups in addition to enhancing her leadership skills. Rachel plans to work as an elementary school teacher, and her Interfaith Leadership background will assist her in teaching because she can be an ally for all of her students and foster a safe classroom environment. Since all of her students will come from a variety of backgrounds, religions, and cultures, she wants to fully understand their backgrounds to facilitate respectful dialogue in the classroom to ensure all students will feel welcome and comfortable. Outside of working as an Interfaith Leader, Rachel is an active member of the Honors Student Association (HSA), plays on an intramural volleyball team, and works at the Francis Harvey Green Library.
Fun fact: Rachel has played the cornet for nine years.

Steven Kendikian headshot

Steven Kendikian (he/him)

Steven is an undergraduate at West Chester University double majoring in Spanish language and culture and music education with a minor in music production. On the interfaith team, Steven specializes in logistical organization and campus outreach. His interest in the team stems from his religiously diverse experience in childhood. Born to a Jewish mother and Christian father, Steven spent much of his childhood and adolescence learning about different faiths and their practices, and hopes to shed light on the beauty of the similarities and differences across various faiths and worldviews. Steven intends to continue the noble mission of interfaith unity by highlighting the similarities in values of all people in his future endeavors. Outside of the Interfaith Leadership Fellowship, Steven spends his time teaching and singing with his a cappella group Under a Rest, serving as the Wellness Chair for the Delta Chi fraternity, and exploring other jobs and internships to diversify his knowledge and experiences for his career.
Fun Fact: I have sung on both the Kimmel Center and Radio City Music Hall stages!

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