Service and Spiritual Exploration, Student Handbook | Earlham College
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Service and Spiritual Exploration

Earlham supports the development of its students and community members not only academically and intellectually, 
but spiritually as well.

Through volunteer experiences, exploring faith through worship, small group gatherings, attending local religious congregations, 
and investigating career and vocational choices, students experience synergy and growth within and beyond the classroom.

Students come to the Office of Religious Life for support in differing ways: some come seeking a deeper connection with their faith traditions, others seek to explore alternative spiritual paths; and still others need assistance discerning the inner foundations of their outward commitments. Earlham College seeks to provide assistance, support, and encouragement to these students in a variety of ways. Specifically, Religious Life assists students by providing guidance in contemplative inquiry, opportunities for dialogue, sponsoring celebratory communal events, and supporting a host of opportunities which enable students to put their most cherished beliefs into daily practice.

Contemplation. The Religious Society of Friends has long believed that an essential part of life is played out in the stillness and silence of solitude. Therefore, Earlham provides the time and space for periods of silence, self-reflection and prayer and also offers some opportunities for individual pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. The Office of Religious Life cannot provide spiritual direction for each and every student but does attempt to find the appropriate resources (either on campus or within the wider community) which best serve an individual student’s needs. By emphasizing the importance of prayerful discernment and guided self-reflection, Earlham hopes that students will be more fully prepared for the personal, academic and vocational decisions they will encounter on the road to a life of simplicity, integrity and truth-seeking.

Exploration. The Statement on Religious Life at Earlham College emphasizes the importance of establishing a community in which its members “become good students of one another’s cultures and practices.” Religious Life can, and should, play a vital role in ensuring that this objective is reached by facilitating ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, bringing speakers from diverse traditions to campus, and providing opportunities for faculty and students to work collaboratively or share their most meaningful experiences with one another. Such dialogues have the potential to foster respect and deepen understanding across differences, as well as to clarify or transform one’s own beliefs, values, and practices. In addition, such dialogues assist students in developing a working understanding of the natural alliance between faith and reason. As one way of fostering dialogue between students on matters of ultimate concern, the Office of Religious Life actively encourages, supports, and promotes Earlham’s student religious organizations. These organizations provide an essential mediating link between the College and the individual student. Developing the strength and vitality of student religious organizations is of primary importance in ensuring that a diverse community of dialogue is achieved.

Celebration. For many students, the spiritual life is neither a solitary one, nor a purely intellectual exercise, but is naturally made manifest in shared public worship, celebration, and/or ritual. Earlham’s Office of Religious Life is devoted to, whenever possible, providing the space, opportunities and resources for times to celebrate or commemorate the joys and sorrows of a life of faith. Observation of religious holidays and participation in communal gatherings, celebrations and other outward expressions of one’s deepest commitments are encouraged, supported and actively promoted by the Office of Religious Life.

Practice. A life of faith finds its natural fruition in activity and practice. Earlham is a place where students encounter many opportunities to interweave the life of the spirit and action. It is hoped that students will discover that their engagement of the world constitutes a mutually transformative encounter in which actions serve to develop and deepen one’s own integrity and character as well as further the cause for social justice. Activities such as service learning projects, volunteer programs, faith-based internships and off-campus study all allow students to test and forge their beliefs and commitments in real world settings while working toward the common good. The Office of Religious Life ensures that interested students are aware of the many opportunities available, assists students in finding those activities for which they are most well-suited and provides opportunities for theological reflection on these experiences.

Nurturing Earlham as a Quaker Place

The Newlin Quaker Center aims to identify young Quaker leaders, nurture Quaker scholarship and dialogue on campus, and provide members of the Earlham and wider communities with information about the Religious Society of Friends and Earlham’s living Quaker character. One component is to meet with groups to provide information regarding consensus. More broadly, the Center aims to promote conversation and cooperation among Friends, and to provide a gathering place for Friends across theological and cultural spectrums.

At the Newlin Quaker Center, we focus on Quaker-related events and programs on campus. The Quaker Fellows Scholarship Program is also facilitated by the Center, providing support to students participating in the program as they focus on spiritual growth, community development and leadership experiences. The Newlin Quaker Center is housed within Virginia Cottage, which is also the home of the Office of Religious Life. Our corner of campus is a beautiful and tranquil place that provides hospitality and encourages reflection and spiritual renewal. The Cottage has a kitchen and two comfortable gathering rooms, which are available for your use — reservations are needed — we encourage campus-wide use of the facility.

Virginia Cottage

The Newlin Quaker Center is located in Virginia Cottage, just north of the Public Safety Office. Virginia Cottage was the residence of Virginia and Elton Trueblood.

To reserve the kitchen, living room or garden room, visit 25 Live — our campus reservation site.

The Office of Religious Life, located in Virginia Cottage, offers a variety of programs spanning the gamut of religious and spiritual opportunity. Multi-faith services, dinners and programs are offered frequently. Students also are encouraged to get involved in the religious life in the greater Richmond Community. Religious Life has a listing of all the churches, meetings and religious opportunities available in the area.

Student Organizations Related to Faith

  • Baha'i Club
  • Buddhist Student Union
  • College Meeting for Worship Cabinet
  • Earlham Christian Fellowship (ECF)
  • Earlham Young Friends
  • Gospel Revelations
  • Jewish Student Union
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Questing Catholics
  • Sharing in Spirit Interfaith Spirituality Group
  • Unitarian Universalists

Religious Theme Houses

  • Buddhist "Bodhi" House
  • Interfaith House
  • Jewish Cultural Center
  • Quaker House

Integrating your passions and the tools for change are integral to everything at Earlham – in the classroom, off-campus study, internships, research, service, and beyond.

The Center for Integrated Learning is our hub for experiential education. It's your bridge to putting knowledge into action through vocational discernment, career planning, internships, jobs, community action, and much more.

Goals of the Center for Integrated Learning include:

  1. Furnish students with broad opportunities to explore service and vocation interests.
  2. Assist students in the identification and recognition of their gifts, interests and aptitudes, aiding in the exploration of value and meaning as it relates to vocation and service.
  3. Provide opportunities for students to make informed choices about activities, courses, majors, post-graduate work and study.
  4. Help students become effective members of the community while at Earlham College and beyond as they enter the workforce as alumni.

College is a time for learning, maturing, and developing or deepening a worldview. It is a time to clarify commitments and focus energies, to discover new worlds and possibilities. For many it is a time of discerning a life trajectory, getting a sense of direction and beginning to gather experiences and skills that will assist in moving forward. The staff of the CIL understands that this process of life discernment happens throughout and beyond college and assists both current students and alumni. Programs and resources that can be helpful in this process of self-discovery include:

Community Engagement Service Opportunities

Earlham has had a longstanding commitment to volunteer service. Students are involved locally, nationally and internationally with direct service, humanitarian assistance and campaigns for social justice. Equipping and encouraging students to engage in such activities is one of the ways the college strives to achieve its mission “to educate morally sensitive leaders for future generations.”

Community Engagement assists students to find and learn from opportunities to serve in the community. In addition to helping students locate service sites, the office also offers opportunities to develop useful skills, reflect on their service experiences, participate in leadership development activities and consider how service experiences might inform choices of majors and career paths.

Community Engagement also provides a free shuttle every weekday afternoon to transport students to local nonprofits, schools and internship sites in Richmond and Eastern Wayne County.

To find out more about serving in Richmond & Wayne County, stop by the Center for Integrated Learning on the main floor of Landrum Bolling Center, or visit

Bonner Scholars Program

The Bonner Scholars Program is a four-year developmental leadership program rooted in community service. Supported by the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, the Bonner Scholarship provides tuition and summer support for 15 Earlham students from each class year who demonstrate a commitment to community service. These students, in turn, provide leadership to local nonprofits.


Earlham students find challenging and meaningful internships in our local community, in other cities during the summer, and in far-flung places as part of off-campus study programs. These opportunities are available in every field imaginable, from science and health care, to education and social service, to the arts and humanities.

Earlham students may participate in the Earlham Internship Program in one of two ways: they may apply for one of our existing Global Partner Internships, or they may find their own internship and apply for funding and support through our Self-Designed Internship Program.

To learn more about the Earlham Internship Program, visit

Career Education

Career Education in the Center for Integrated Learning helps students and alumni achieve their goals by integrating their liberal arts education with their personal and professional experiences. Our Career Advisers provide intentional, one-on-one advising as well as career-related programming both in and out of the classroom. 

At Earlham, we understand that a career is more than a job; it's a journey. As such, we support holistic development by encouraging students to seek out meaningful opportunities and guiding them as they translate their experiences into the wider world.

To schedule an appointment with a Career Coach, stop by the Center for Integrated Learning on the main floor of Landrum Bolling Center, or visit

Student Employment

Students can find work in a variety of settings during their career at Earlham. From academic departments, residence life, and administrative offices on campus to nonprofit organizations off campus, student employees play a major role in shaping our campus and community.

To learn more about on- and off-campus student employment at Earlham, visit

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.