The spring semester is waning which means loads of transition in my world. I’ve been immersed in congratulating one batch of student leaders, while welcoming another. I’ve been caught up with reflection. What went well & where do I need to try harder? What questions did I make enough time to ask? Which questions was I too afraid to bring to the table?
It was with this mindset that I set out to hire a new crop of uGeW Interns, those charged each year with hearing the stories of their peers and cultivating meaningful community, in response. Each year, a flood of applications come in, I ask the same interview questions, and trust my gut to get me the rest of the way to hiring a new group. But somewhere along the way this year, in the thick of asking about student involvement and leadership questions, I got bored. So I asked what was really on my mind:
(Where) Does G/d live at GW?
In my experience, college students fear religion. “Thanks for the invite to your event Adena, but I’m not religious!” “I never got involved with Hillel during school because I’m not religious!” Religion is a big, bad word, loaded with memories of boring days at Rosh Hashanah services and annoying trips to Hebrew School. But I’m always delightfully amazed to hear that a fear of religion doesn’t mean students aren’t ready to welcome a wide, robust, enriching conversation on G/d.
My uGeW Intern candidates found G/d anywhere and nowhere. G/d lives with them in Thurston and comes with them to class. For one, G/d shows up when she is struggling but never when things are going well.
Perhaps my favorite answer? A quiet one without a great deal of significance until the end of our conversation, after I had asked other questions and was almost finished with the interview. My final request of A: “Anything else you’d like to share?” In response, she said: “Adena – you know that G/d question you asked me earlier? What do you think? Does G/d live in your world at GW?”
What questions have you been afraid to ask this year? And who is waiting to challenge you with some back questions in return?