Spiritual Diversity Project comes to USI

Ariana Beedie

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A new organization on campus will bring awareness to spiritual diversity issues at USI – the Spiritual Diversity Project, sponsored by Historic New Harmony via Outreach and Engagement and Religious Life.

The purpose of this project is to promote spiritual development on campus and is geared specifically toward the USI community.Religious Life Director Christine Hoehn  worked with Associate Provost of Student Affairs Marcia Kiessling and Missy Parkinson of Historic New Harmony to create this organization and to offer a year-long internship to a student who will lead the organization.


“We all met one year ago with the Interfaith Youth Council to discuss getting a group together,” Hoehn said. “We wanted students to lead the conversation, and to get a student to facilitate the conversation.”

The internship was advertised, and after four to five applicants and Skype interviews, they chose the intern for the Spirtual Diversity Project winner – senior international studies major Jess Durkin.

“I’m forming a student board of four to six members involved in diversity development,” Durkin said. “I want a fair representation of students.”

Along with forming a Student Advisory Board, Durkin also hosts non-traditional lectures to get students involved and feeling more comfortable when talking about spirituality. Her idea is to have two to three lectures a semester, she said.

“Diversity is essential for greater growth, for a university setting, when being exposed to new things,” Durkin said. “I would love for students to make suggestions. I’m approachable.”

The Spiritual Diversity Project featured Molly Konkle, a Spanish and international studies major, on its poster. Konkle said she finds the Spritual Diversity Project to be a “cool” outlet for students. 

“I think it’s good when you ask the question of what your faith is,” Konkle said.

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