New centers open, celebrate bridges between service and spirituality

By Emma Gallegos

At the joint
celebration of the blessing of the Center for Religious and Spiritual
Life (CRSL) and the dedication of Civic Engagement Center (CEC) last
Thursday, the centers’ directors said that these name changes are
not just cosmetic but part of a larger effort to bridge disparate
aspects of student life inside and outside the classroom.Students from the
Multifaith Council began the celebration by leading attendees from
the entrance of the Weyerhaeuser Chapel to the muted lighting of the
newly decorated basement and site of the CRSL.

Student representatives
from different religious and spiritual traditions on campus blessed
the CRSL, commenced by Lucy Forster-Smith, Associate Dean for CRSL.

Forster-Smith, who is
also the college chaplain, said that while the college has a strong
Presbyterian legacy, the CRSL is not intended to be the “moral
conscience of the college” but instead to “engage in the work of
repairing the world.”

The celebration, which
included faculty, staff, students and administrators, progressed to
the first floor of Kagin Commons where attendees toasted the two
centers with ginger ale to the tune of a jazz quartet.

Eily Marlow, the
Program Associate for the Lilly Project for Vocation and Ethical
Leadership, continued the dedication, which she said is appropriate
because she sees her project as a bridge between the two centers.

The Lilly Project, she
said, gives students “the opportunity to explore commitments and
convictions and how they will incorporate them into their lives’
Marlow said that while
the Lilly Project is not new to the college, the program has a
broader focus.

“We’re asking
bigger questions this year,” said Marlow. She said that because of
the project’s location under the Institute for Global Citizenship
(IGC), it is in a better position to ponder some of the same
questions it always has but on a global scale and as a sense of
“communal vocation.”

Karin Trail-Johnson,
who is both the Associate Dean of the IGC and Director of the CEC,
said students at the college have found “meaningful ways to
contribute to society” from its earliest days.

Recent projects, such
as classes that have participated in the Lake Street Initiative
indicate an increasing tendency to bridge the curricular with the
co-curricular, said Trail-Johnson.

She added that the CEC,
which is housed under the IGC, is a “broad umbrella” that will
enable students to work for “the common social good on a global