As the Class of 2019 prepares to graduate this week, Campus Ministry would like to acknowledge the hard work of our student employees and their contributions to the mission of our department.
Dustin Hartuv (COL’21), Campus Ministry staff writer, reached out to our 16 student employee graduands to ask them about their time with the department. He brings us this Q & A with Paige Harouse, (COL’19), the final in a short series of reflections.
DH: How long have you worked for Campus Ministry?
PH: I’ve worked for Campus Ministry since week two or three of freshman year. I originally applied because I: a) needed to find a job, and b) had worked as a proctor in my high school’s interfaith building. I’m pretty sure that I was hired because I knew what Shabbat was.
DH: What is your job at Campus Ministry?
PH: I think my title in GMS is “interreligious events assistant,” or something like that. My role has changed a decent amount over the years as I’ve progressed in my coursework and interests and as Campus Ministry has grown. Much of the work I did involved working weekly services (and holidays) for Jewish Life and Muslim Life, helping manage social media and email newsletters, as well as behind the scenes prep and things. I also got the chance to help launch the Women in Faith Retreat (and student group) with student workers in my sophomore year. We wanted to create a space for women (who have all sorts of relationships with religion) to talk about their religious identities, successes, and struggles in an interfaith context. It’s interesting when people ask me what I did because most people don’t realize that Georgetown has a robust campus ministry outside of Catholic life and that interfaith work is such a focus at the university.
DH: Do you have any “behind-the-scenes” anecdotes or funny stories you would like to share from working with Campus Ministry?
PH: One of my first tasks was to work Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New year), except I only had other student workers (most of whom were also recent hires) as backups because my then-boss was out of town for a family function. Before she left, she joked that if we stayed, then her hiring choices were correct— they were.
I’ve seen (and done) a lot in four years. At one point I had to carry a Torah scroll across campus because the “Torah doctor” (the Hebrew term is sofer) was coming to inspect the scroll. Here I am walking across campus with a sacred object over 100+ years old that survived the Shoah (Holocaust), and I’m not sure that it’s going to survive the walk through the weekly farmer’s market.
Other cool things I’ve done: help start the Jewish Life Instagram account; develop meaningful relationships with many of our chaplains (shout-out to Brahmachari-ji, Rabbi Ben, and Rabbi Rachel) and staff (shout-out to Morgan and Diana); worked a bar mitzvah in the ICC auditorium; found friendships with many co-workers; created the Women in Faith retreat; was paid to see a former president of Kosovo speak; celebrated a lot of holidays; learned how to get a catering cart from point A to point B the most efficient way possible; learned how much work it takes to support a religious community; ate a ton of free food; and learned how to coax Agatha (the main printer in G-01) into working.
DH: Has working at Campus Ministry deepened your knowledge of your own faith or other faith traditions?
PH: Yes to both! It’s given me an understanding of what it means for so many to “live their traditions” beyond the academic definition. It’s supplemented my coursework in Theology and Religious Studies, as well as my time spent abroad in Amman and Jerusalem. Looking inwards, I’ve been able to begin not only to ask the larger questions but learned to take responsibility for my own identity and how to support not only the communities that I want to be a part of but the communities that I want to build and grow.
DH: Has working in a multi-faith context prepared you for your future professional career?
PH: Working in a multi-faith context has enabled my future professional career. I’m moving to Berlin, Germany in September for a one-year fellowship with Action Reconciliation Service for Peace. There, I’ll be doing work relating to Holocaust memory, reconciliation, and education. I’ll primarily be working at the memorial service at the former concentration camp Sachsenhausen, but I’ll also be working with elderly members of the Berlin Jewish community.
I know that I’ll use the many skills learned— particularly the people skills, dialogue skills, and interfaith knowledge— during my year there. We’ll see what comes after, but I’m pretty busy in the meantime. I’m going to coach ultimate frisbee this summer with Ultimate Peace, a Middle East-based NGO that uses Ultimate to bring Jewish-Israeli, Arab-Israeli, and Palestinian youth together. I’m super excited about that! Afterwards, I’ll be working on staff for the fifth year at the German-language immersion camp that I attended growing up. I help organize and manage a lot of our historical, political, and cross-cultural programming and am super excited for all the fun activities already planned for this summer.