The entire community is invited to join the Ohio University Office for Diversity and Inclusion and other OHIO offices, departments and student groups, United Campus Ministry (UCM): Center for Spiritual Growth and Social Justice, and other local organizations in the inaugural President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.
The Interfaith Challenge was recently created by President Barack Obama as an incentive for higher education institutions to commit to one year of interfaith cooperation and community service programming in order to build understanding between diverse communities and contribute to the common good.
The White House's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National and Community Service will evaluate all of the campus initiatives and invite the most exemplary ones to the nation's capital next summer.
Melissa Wales, executive director of UCM, said the partnership's Interfaith Challenge initiative is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
"Ohio University will have a chance to show itself as a leader in interfaith service and parents can see that this is an inclusive and welcoming university that encourages student participation and engagement in the community," Wales said.
She said the partnership's initiative will build on the success of the Ohio University Interfaith Youth Core's "Better Together Campaign," which successfully promoted interfaith activities on campus and in the community. In fact, the campaign was mentioned as an example of outstanding interfaith efforts on college campuses by President Obama on his blog when he announced the Interfaith Challenge.
Bridges said the Interfaith Challenge is an excellent opportunity to build better, stronger and sustainable community practices throughout Athens and the surrounding communities.
"Accepting this challenge serves as a catalyst for promoting peace through shared values – while mitigating conflict locally and in the world at large," he said.
Primary partners in the Interfaith Challenge are: Office for Diversity, Access and Equity; Residential Housing; and UCM: Center for Spiritual Growth and Social Justice.
(From the press release "University participating in Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge" by George Mauzy)