Senior interfaith student learns from past, looks to future
March 2, 2017   //   By:   //   Achievements, Research and Academics

Not every senior project is simply a hurdle to clear for graduation; for some, it is a resource to be used even when college is a distant memory.

Elizabethtown College student Luke Mackey is one who will utilize his senior project even after he graduates. Mackey, an interfaith studies student, is developing an online resource for international educators and anyone interested in interfaith. This website’s development is in conjunction with the Office of International Student Services and his academic advisor, Tracy Sadd. Mackey said he would like to submit some of his research to the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) or be featured on its website. His senior project might help him do just that.

“I’m not necessarily teaching what interfaith is, but I’m teaching from my perspective as an interfaith leader,” Mackey said.

The E-town senior’s website is split into three sections. The first is religious literacy and describes major world religions. Another features ‘leading through interfaith’, which describes the interfaith movement and various organizations associated with it. Additional resources can be found in the third section, which describes why interfaith matters.

At the base of it, it’s knowledge about other religions.”

“At the base of it, it’s knowledge about other religions,” Mackey said, “but interfaith is about applying that knowledge to help people on campus and in general.” He also said that information can “empower both the student and the international education staff” at any given college.

Mackey does not just research interfaith; he has seen its real-world applications during his internship with On Earth Peace, an organization dedicated to “overcoming violence with the power of love.” Throughout 2016, Mackey was a newsletter editor for the organization. His job encompassed more than just editing, however. On his first day there, interns discussed anti-racism and mass incarceration in the United States. “It was very eye-opening,” Mackey said. “That really set the tone for my work there.”

Although On Earth Peace is an agency of the Church of the Brethren, Mackey said it was “very inter-religious.” He encountered people of various religious and non-religious backgrounds working at the organization in his three semesters there.

As an interfaith leader who has had several unique experiences, Mackey said that he is excited for the future.

“I feel like having this inclusive mindset will be helpful when working … in future endeavors this summer and beyond.”

About the Author :

Rebecca Easton is a junior at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She is currently studying English with a concentration in professional writing, and is pursuing a double minor in communications and business administration. Her primary interests in these fields include journalistic writing, copy editing and marketing. She currently works for the Elizabethtown College Center for Student Success as a writing tutor. She also works for the Office of Marketing and Communications.