Interview with Louise Ruhr

Louise Ruhr is a member of the Buddha Eye Temple Sustainable Impact Campaign . She was interviewed by Issei for this article.

What is your job and what led you to it?
My current job is Executive Director of CREATE! 
Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment, an international NGO based in Eugene and working in rural Senegal, West Africa.  I was a member of the founding team of CREATE! back in 2008, and the evolution of my current role just happened naturally over time as I became more involved in first the day-to-day operations of our organization. Later  I developed a passion for outreach and advocacy on behalf of our team, our communities, and the work that we do. I currently spend most of my time networking with donors, supporters and others who are in a position to increase our visibility and secure funding support.

How did you get involved with the Sustainable Impact Campaign at Buddha Eye?
I became involved with the Sustainable Impact Campaign at Buddha Eye through my good friend Robin Weil, whom I met about ten years ago when we were both working with refugees in Rwanda as part of the American Refugee Committee International (ARC) team.  Robin’s commitment to Buddha Eye and her openness to including me in events and conversations really encouraged me to get involved in the Sustainable Impact Campaign, where I also saw a role that I might be able to play that would put my leadership and outreach skills to good use for a very worthy cause.

What are the reasons you decided to get involved?
I decided to get involved because I really connected with the vision behind the Sustainable Impact Campaign, building and strengthening Buddha Eye Temple as an institution and extending its offerings to the broader Eugene community.  With so many things happening in the world and in our country that can give rise to feelings of hopelessness, despair and isolation, it means a great deal to me to be part of a community that offers refuge, healing and support to all members of the community who wish to seek those things here.

What else would you like us to know about you?
I am a mother, a grandmother, and have longtime roots in Oregon and in Eugene, having first moved here from California with my parents and siblings  in 1968.  I’m a graduate of South Eugene High School and have called Oregon “home” throughout my travels and living situations in different places in the US and abroad over the past 50 or so years (yikes, can it have been that long??).  I am nearing retirement from my professional career and very much looking forward to dedicating more of my time to helping Buddha Eye Temple realize its potential as a place of refuge and connection in our community.

What has your experience been like working with the Steering Committee - has it been different or the same as working with other organizations?
Working with the Steering Committee has been and continues to be a true blessing and, while some of the activities that we undertake are similar to those that I have been a part of in other organizations, the spirit with which we do our work is quite different from anything I’ve experienced elsewhere.  I would say that the primary difference relates to lack of attachment—people seem to come to meetings truly ready to respect, accept and support the ideas, talents, and gifts of fellow Steering Committee members, without having a lot of ego wrapped up in the outcome of any of our discussions.  It seems that the whole group is truly seeking what is best for all, and that’s a rare dynamic, in my experience.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Interesting construct, the idea of time that is “free” and time that is not.  But when I’m not working I like to make time to be at the barn where I keep my horse, working with him and hanging out with my fellow horse lovers; to read a growing stack of books; to attend films, concerts and other musical performances; to spend time at our family homestead along the Umpqua River in Elkton; and of course, to visit my son and his family when time and schedules permit.