Friends Kate Cain (’26) and Ellie Coleman (’25) have transformed from high school classmates to Loras College peace advocates, driven by pivotal summers spent at the past Loras Peace Institute. Their experiences have led them to continue working for peace and social change.
The two students attended Dowling Catholic High School in central Iowa, nurturing a bond through their families and siblings. When the opportunity arose to attend the Peace Institute summer program at Loras years prior, they seized it—the week shaped their worldviews and future aspirations.
“I like building peace with others who aren’t like me,” shares Kate, a sophomore majoring in sociology. “I want to leave the world better than I found it. When the opportunity arose to be an intern in Spiritual Life… I knew I had to do it. This was the best way to get involved, get out into the community, and make a difference.”
Recently, the two Peace and Justice interns took the lead on the campus Fair Trade Holiday Sale, started in 2005 by Dave McDermott. They have been busy organizing promotions, volunteers, and coordinating with a local fair trade shop, A Ripple Effect, in downtown Dubuque.
“The Fr. Ray Herman Peace and Justice Center offers this sale annually to educate the Loras community about human rights and dignity in the supply chain and ethical consumption,” shares Hannah Eby, assistant director of peace and justice. “It is also a fun way to prepare for the holidays together.”
In the spring semester, Kate and Ellie will organize a Peace and Justice Fair Trade Thrift Sale encouraging donations of used clothing for a pop-up shop. And ideas are already in the works for projects for next year—organizing recurring service opportunities for Loras students to volunteer across Dubuque.
To junior Ellie, a creative writing and secondary education major also in her second year as an intern, the work has impacted her global outlook.
“I would like to continue this work. One of the biggest impacts this work has had on me is shaping my outlook on the world. And to ask the question: ‘What do we owe to each other?’” Ellie shares. “I try to have the perspective that there is always more to be done. We must always strive to treat others with empathy, kindness, and passion. If nothing else, I’m going to carry that with me.”
Kate and Ellie’s experiences show how pivotal moments can spark a lifelong passion. Through their efforts, these friends lead the way in creating positive social change.