Andrew Flemming ’22 — First, I want to thank Wabash College and the Wabash Public Policy Project (WPPP) for funding such an insightful and meaningful experience. Also, I would like to thank both Dr. Brian Grim, Lewis McCrary, and others for connecting students with various nonprofit organizations such as Faith & Business Build a Better World (RFBF).
This summer, I had the privilege and pleasure of working as a Corporate Liaison for the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation as a part of the WPPP. I learned so much and have come to understand how important religious freedom is in the business sector. During my internship, I attended Zoom meetings with various employee resource groups in fortune 500 companies. These ERGs offer people the ability to bring their entire selves to work – faith and all. I have learned how important these groups are in the business world because they offer people a comfortability in the workplace that naturally translates to higher levels of productivity and progress. I have also had the privilege of working on the initiative which partners with the Paralympic Games in Tokyo to express the importance of peace across the world, especially interfaith understanding. The conference will feature many influential speakers and include awards for business professionals who have displayed extraordinary efforts to provide employees with the ability to express their faith and beliefs in the workplace.
To prepare for the conference, I selected photos and videos to recognize the award winners. Also, I wrote scripts to describe the people awarded by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. I was allowed to reach out to many different people and work with their schedules to record, obtain acceptance speeches and other visual components that would be helpful for the virtual conference. Because of the virtual platform, I learned how important it is to get all speakers and events scheduled, recorded, and uploaded so that the conference runs smoothly. Because it is a virtual conference, it is imperative to recruit people to participate and stress the importance of attending. I was responsible for reaching out to ERGs and encourage them to sign up for the conference.
Nonetheless, I attend the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C., where I heard stories of persecution and ongoing movements to combat injustice. This summit was eye-opening and made me realize how important this movement is to our ever-changing world. Several nations do not allow their citizens the rights and freedoms that must accompany religious beliefs. Overall, the summit taught me how to move forward and inspire change in the future. I had an incredible experience and learned so much by working with the RFB. All in all, I am grateful to the WPPP for giving students opportunities to explore public policy internships.