DUBUQUE, Iowa – Samantha Eckrich, a 2016 graduate of Loras College and a member of its Better Together organization, has earned the Mike Hammer Interfaith Leadership Award from the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). The award goes to a student who demonstrates exceptional leadership in making interfaith cooperation a social norm on their campus.
Eckrich will receive $750 to be used to refine the skills she needs to “keep being an agent of change” and will be flown to the Chicago Interfaith Leadership Institute in August to receive the award.
Better Together is a national network for student interfaith groups, councils, committees, and everything in between all working toward one goal—creating change for interfaith cooperation on campus.
Throughout her time at Loras, Eckrich enhanced awareness of interfaith engagement, increased religious and interfaith literacy on campus, and built partnerships with local communities in Dubuque.
“Samantha has had an incredible impact on all levels of our campus, from co-curricular opportunities and academic research to working with upper administrators and building campus and community partnerships,” Jim Collins, president of Loras College, said.
One example of Eckrich’s creativity and focus was the role she played in planning Loras College’s “I am human . . .” part of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Not only did she make the week a success by drawing on her skills as an artist, but also designed a permanent art exhibit to increase campus wide awareness of interfaith cooperation.
In addition to her work in campus mobilizing, Eckrich was directly involved with the launching of an interfaith research project that links campus co-curricular programming to academic work on campus. She collaborated with two faculty members to research the impact of religious identity on attitudes in Loras College’s home city of Dubuque, even co-authoring executive summaries and articles about their findings and student learning outcomes.
Eckrich, of Solon, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in biological research in May. She was also part of the honors program.
About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. According to the 2016 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, Loras College was named the 13th Best Regional College: Midwest. Visit www.loras.edu for more information.
About Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)
Founded in 2002, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is a Chicago-based international nonprofit organization building a global movement of young leaders committed to the ideal of religious pluralism. World leaders and the international community have taken notice of IFYC’s work, including President Barack Obama who appointed IFYC’s Eboo Patel to serve on his inaugural Faith Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.