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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.

View the Religious Life Directory

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 Sophomore Cell and Molecular Biology and Philosophy Double Major Gabrielle Steffy

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)
  • The mission of the Interfaith Leadership Fellowship program is to equip undergraduate students with the needed skills to bridge religious and spiritual divisions within West Chester University by having a Pluralistic vision, acquiring knowledge, and developing the skill set to foster an understanding of different faiths, cultures, philosophies, and worldviews for the common good.

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.

Liam McDonnell headshot

Liam McDonnell (He/Him)

Liam is an undergraduate majoring in business management. As an Interfaith Leadership Fellow,, Liam is responsible for the social media outreach to the West Chester community. Liam attended Catholic school and the opportunity to think about the impact of religion on identity sparked his interest to join the Interfaith Leadership Fellowship. Liam is looking forward to work with community partners and different religious leaders to improve his communication skills. Becoming an interfaith fellow has allowed Liam to gain the knowledge working with people of all different religious, spiritual, and philosophical backgrounds. Liam spends most of his time hanging out with his friends and takes part in a fundraising group called the Ancient Order of The Hibernians. This Irish group of men work in the Doylestown community and put together events for those in need.
Fun Fact: Liam started all four years on his high school basketball team.

Carson Danaher  headshot

Carson Danaher (He/Him)

Carson is an undergraduate at West Chester University majoring in Finance and minoring in Civic and Professional Leadership, Anthropology, and Business Law. On the interfaith team, Carson is responsible for on-campus communication. Carson attended a private school that was centered on the Moravian faith, but the school ran a series of lectures from leaders of various faith leaders, which prompted his interest in interfaith. Becoming an interfaith fellow will provide the necessary skills and knowledge to adequately accommodate the needs and desires of people of all faiths within his future business endeavors. Outside of interfaith, Carson spends his time as treasurer of the WCU Rock Climbing Team, representing the Honors College as the Student Government senator, participating in the Honors Student Association, and playing various intermural sports. Fun fact: Carson took a gap year prior to college to pursue professional soccer in England.

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