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Tyler Coles to speak at national gathering on interfaith and community service in D.C.

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  • Tyler Coles to speak at national gathering on interfaith and community service in D.C.

  • 09/23/13
  • This article was featured in the Roanoke Magazine, Issue 2, 2013. The full issue can be seen here.

    Roanoke College senior Tyler Coles will serve as one of four student panelists at the Third Annual President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering on Sept. 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C.

    Coles will join students from Georgetown University, Saint Louis University and Concordia College in a closing celebration panel Sept. 24 moderated by Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is scheduled to give remarks during the celebration, the closing activity of the two-day Gathering, held at Georgetown University.

    In 2010, the White House launched the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, an initiative inviting institutions of higher education to commit to a year of interfaith and community service programming on campus. To date, more than 350 colleges and universities are involved, including Roanoke College.

    The National Gathering offers an opportunity for students, staff and administrators to share experiences, learn from experts and meet administration officials who share a commitment to community service with an interfaith engagement component. The event is designed to be helpful to institutions of higher education that are just starting programs in interfaith/community service and those with long traditions in this work. An important part of the program is celebrating all the work that is happening on campuses across the country to provide students with opportunities to develop lifelong skills in interfaith cooperation and community service.

    Coles, a Roanoke native who is majoring in history and minoring in religion, was one of 11 students selected to serve as an Interfaith Youth Core student coach this summer. The Chicago-based IFYC focuses on building a solid bond between people of various faiths and religions. 

    Juliet Lowery, director of Roanoke College's Office of Multicultural Affairs, said Coles has had a deep interest in facilitating interfaith dialogue on the Roanoke campus and laid the foundation for the College's Interfaith Council. Coles, who serves as senior student coordinator in the Multicultural Affairs office, was one of the student leaders who organized Eboo Patel's visit to Roanoke College in February of this year, Lowery said.

    "Tyler is just a wonderful, wonderful leader," she said. "Through his work not only on our campus but through IFYC, working with other students, faculty and advisors in the IFYC Leadership Institute this summer, we see the rising star that he is. I think that is why he was selected as one of the four to serve on this panel."

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