Summer Spotlight: Shelby Traver '24 Impact Banner

    Summer Spotlight: Shelby Traver '24

    September 1, 2021
    "It was not an experience I expected but one I would not trade."

    Shelby Traver '24 spent a week doing a virtual immersion with Christians for Peace in El Salvador through the Center for Service and Social Justice (CSSJ) this summer, which consisted of speakers and reflections. We asked her a few questions about her experience.

    What do you enjoy most about service?

     I enjoy participating in events like this because it is very enlightening and provides perspectives I would not have otherwise heard. It also helps us amplify the voices of people not often heard and, through this, we can become better advocates for them.  

    What are some of the skills you have learned?

    I think this program made me a much better listener and made me more willing to question the narratives that may be given to us by the US media, something which may sanitize the reality of what goes on in the countries without the resources of Western Europe and North America. 

    What were your expectations of the project? Does it match the reality? 

    My expectations of the project were that I was going to hear about the policies and problems that currently plague El Salvador from advocates and professionals, giving me more of a broad knowledge of the issues there. I did expect to hear personal anecdotes but I figured it would be more based on the laws that impact Salvadorians, something which was similar to a previous immersion I participated in. While everyone who spoke were professionals, I did not expect to hear all of the stories were and how almost every single Salvadorian had been impacted. I remember specifically, on that Wednesday, we talked about violence against women in the nation, and one woman spoke with such brutal honesty and passion, which drove many of us to tears. In our reflection afterward, all of us were crying together trying to process it. It was not an experience I expected but one I would not trade.  

    How do you feel service has prepared you for the real world? 

    As someone who wants to work in the policy field, this event helped me to better understand issues around immigration and the situation in El Salvador and other South American countries. Many issues found there the US and other colonizing nations (and nations that supported revolutions) have a direct hand in and little has been done to correct this. This better understanding and the variety of personal narratives that I heard have made me want to advocate for accountability for the nations have that have caused turmoil in the affected nations. 

    Learn more about CSSJ, here.

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