The front entrance of Alexander Hall as seen October 21, 2019

Interfaith Studies students secure grant for campus programming

Created: February 11, 2021  |  Last Updated: March 18, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 11, 2021)—As W&J’s second class of Interfaith Leadership Studies students completes the concentration, they’re paving the way for future students.

Working together as a program cohort through their capstone experience, the students secured the 2020 Interfaith Action Award, a grant from the Interfaith Youth Core, to create a designated interfaith space on campus. The national organization is dedicated to promoting religious pluralism and cooperation.

“One of the students in the course brought the grant to our attention after we attended the Interfaith Youth Core conference,” said neuroscience major Kali Anne Bunecicky. “We each delegated parts of the scholarship application that we were experienced in and worked together to write a comprehensive response that ended up winning us a grant! Then, we continued to work together between ourselves and the school in order to achieve groundbreaking momentum towards developing an interfaith space.”

The students’ vision focuses on providing a physical location on campus that serves as a calming and welcoming space to students from all religious and spiritual backgrounds. They seek to provide a comprehensive interfaith education library, prayer rugs, candles, and other supplies that are of use to religious practitioners.

The space is currently in the works for the first floor of Alexander Hall, and the group looks forward to completing the project and opening it up to other students on campus.

“We hope that this space will enhance students’ religious experiences on campus by creating a newfound community that will allow students to share their religious experiences and explore the diverse identities of their peers,” said environmental studies, international studies and Spanish triple major Selena Easley.

The Interfaith Leadership Studies concentration joined the curriculum in 2017 and is designed to equip students with knowledge and skills essential for professional and civic leaders in a religiously diverse society.

Working on the project with Selena and Kali are other Interfaith Leadership Studies concentration students Marilyn Burkhardt, Kiley Miller, Lucy Hutchinson, Jessica Wesnus and Annalyse Friday under the guidance of Associate Professor and Director of Religious Studies Olga Solovieva, Ph.D.

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.