Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors
The Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors project arises out of recognition that one of the most pressing challenges facing the COVID-19 vaccination process is the lack of trust for the vaccine evident in certain subsets of the U.S. population. Black, Native American, and Latinx communities face disproportionate health outcomes related to COVID-19, and may also be less inclined to trust vaccine information due to historical medical abuse and oppressions in the United States. Politically and religiously conservative white communities may also be less likely to trust the vaccine.
We seek up to 20 WashU students to be Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors to develop creative partnerships with local communities with the goal of boosting COVID-19 vaccine uptake and saving lives. Ambassadors will be committed to creative, flexible, and consistent engagement with communities involved in vaccine distribution and education, as well as communities with higher rates of vaccine hesitancy.
Ideal participants will have a personal connection to communities where vaccine hesitancy is high or have creative ideas to help individuals in communities gain access to the vaccine. Possible efforts could include engaging in 1:1 conversations with individuals who are hesitant about the vaccine, hosting town hall conversations about the vaccine in hesitant communities, engaging in social media outreach about the vaccine, supporting vaccine education or scheduling appointments, coordinating vaccination sites, etc
This program will run from May-October 2021 and Ambassadors will receive a $1,500 stipend directly from the Interfaith Youth Core. We recognize that students may be in multiple locations over the course of this 6-month program. Virtual meetings will be offered, and projects will be flexible to allow for continued connection as students return to WashU in late summer.
Ambassadors may seek to engage these communities by:
- Connecting: Ambassadors may identify community organizations who are already doing the work, seek them out and listen for ways to support their work.
- Strengthening: Ambassadors may need to become coordinators of efforts, join the teams already on the ground in their communities and find ways to provide added value to the ongoing work.
- Mapping Community Assets: Ambassadors may serve as liaisons to their communities with access to research, information, and experts from within the WashU community to support social media campaigns, panelists, and speakers on the vaccine.
- Facilitating: Ambassadors may help frame dialogues in small groups, marketing and communications campaigns, and create innovative ways to increase support for community efforts.
- Attend one required virtual kick-off training
- EITHER Monday, May 10, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. CST (please check your Finals schedule) or
- Monday, May 17, 12 -5 p.m. CST).
- Meet approximately every two weeks (mid-May through October) as a cohort for support, sharing best practices, and project updates. Occasionally these meetings will be replaced by ongoing IFYC trainings.
- Active engagement with local communities to support the program goals.
- Document projects, present progress, and share periodic reports with your peer cohort.
- Ambassadors must be current undergraduate, graduate or professional students at WashU.
- Students may be from any or no religious, spiritual or philosophical background, but should be open to connecting with religious and spiritual communities as part of this project.
- Ambassadors should be living in the community they propose to serve during summer 2021 (circumstances where strong connections to faith community or organization are elsewhere in the USA will be considered).
- $1,500 stipend (first half of stipend provided after you attend the May training).
- Training and mentoring by the Interfaith Youth Core, Dr. Mark Kamimura-Jimenez, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Dean of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and Reverend Callista Isabelle, Director for Religious, Spiritual & Ethical Life.
- Ambassadors will be trained in building partnerships, shifting public opinion, and skill development in connecting culture, science, and faith in communities.
- Ambassador Info Session, April 15, 2021, 7 p.m-8 p.m. CST
- Application deadline: April 23, 2021
- Applicants notified: April 27
- Applicant commitment forms & W9 due April 30 at 12:00 p.m. CST