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My Manchester Story

Jesse Langdon

by Lauren Hughes | Jun 06, 2019

Jesse Langdon, a junior peace studies and political science major, from Columbus, Ind., shares how life at Manchester has given him real world experience.  

“What are you involved with on campus?”

“I’m involved in a lot of things! I’m on the executive board for the Kenapocomoco Peace Coalition, which is the peace studies club. I am the president of the Campus Interfaith Board, which does interfaith work on campus and organizes trips off campus. I’m an interfaith programmer for the Office of Religious Life, I’m on the executive board for Amnesty International Manchester chapter, I’m on two different faculty committees, including the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC), which oversees all changes or additions to undergraduate course offerings. Finally, I’m on the Undergraduate Liberal Arts Curriculum Committee (LARCC). It’s a lot of work, but I’m really happy to be a part of these committees because they allow me to give a student voice to the core programs.”

“It sounds like you’re involved in a lot of different areas around campus. What has been a really rewarding experience so far at Manchester?” 

“I wrote a paper last semester about the persecution that Bahá'ís face in Iran, which has been a continuous problem. Through my research, I figured out that there isn’t really a good database for reporting the religious affiliation of migrants and refugees. Because of that, I am going to work on developing a database that the international community can use to track different religious groups. For instance, if there is a large group of Bahá'ís leaving Iran, that can be an indicator to international human rights groups, as well as the United Nations, that there is religious persecution happening in Iran. It can be used as a tool to stop human rights abuses across the world.” 

“What made you decide to get involved in religious studies?”

“Through peace studies, and my life experiences in general, I have noticed that religion has a great propensity for peace and for violence− which is something that has always interested me − how people from the same religious background can have very different interpretations of their text. So I wanted to work on the peacebuilding aspect of faith work, and I believe that interfaith work creates really strong coalitions between members of different faith backgrounds, because it highlights similarities between worldviews and celebrates the strength in differences as well.” 

“Who is a professor that has really impacted your time at Manchester?”

“Wow. There are so many, and they’re all influential in my life. I would probably say Professor Williams, who is a political science professor. I took his Political Concepts and Ideologies course my first year, and I was the only first-year in the class, so that was very intimidating− plus the fact that it was my first political science course. It really got me to realize different aspects of what political science is, and broadened my mind to the political realm. Another professor would be Professor Staudenmaier, the new history professor. I’m currently in his recent American History course, and it’s been really interesting. He’s opening our eyes to new aspects of history that I haven’t ever thought of before− and he has helped our class reframe the civil rights movement and rethink politics during the 70s and 80s, which has been super interesting to me too.”