Mar 5, 2012
Last fall, President Barack Obama challenged universities across the nation to take part in the White House Interfaith Challenge. Various Ohio University organizations have teamed up to accept Obama’s challenge to raise awareness through fundraising and community service projects.
The yearlong pledge of service was proposed in hopes of furthering students’ understanding of faith, cooperation and understanding within their communities.
“Residential Housing is trying to help students think about their spiritual background,” said Assistant Director for Residential Education and Off-Campus Housing Barb Harrison. “As students make a lot of changes in their lives at college they may make changes in their spiritual beliefs as well, and we want to be there to help them.”
Residential Housing has teamed up with United Campus Ministry, Better Together and the Office of Diversity, Access and Equity to help raise money for Charity: Water. The participating organizations set a fundraising goal of $5,000 to be donated to the non-profit organization, which strives to bring safe and clean water to people in developing nations. The money raised will be used to build a well in an impoverished community.
Residence halls across campus have organized various fundraisers in an attempt to raise money for the charity. Voight and Perkins halls have held pancake sales earning $35 and $190, respectively. James Hall raised a total of $300 dollars through Valentine’s grams and pancake sales. Other fundraising activities such as canned food drives and hot dog sales have also been successful.
The four organizations put together a Valentine’s Day dance to celebrate everyone involved with the service project thus far. The groups raised more than $100 thanks to a $1 entry fee to the Better Together Ball, with all proceeds donated to Charity: Water.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, Better Together began a 12-hour fast at United Campus Ministry.
“The purpose of the fast was to expose students to the hunger that so many Athenians go through almost every single day as well as raise funds for our well project,” said Rachel Hyden, Better Together campus leader.
Throughout the day, participants watched documentaries and movies related to hunger and Appalachia. At 9 p.m., when the 12-hour fast was over, everyone celebrated with a shared meal. The event raised $400.
“When a person is engaging in service it helps them think about their place in the grander scheme of things, and that may have different meanings for different people,” said Harrison. “Our country is divided on topics such as spirituality, and especially religion. The challenge made by Obama was an attempt to get people to break down those walls.”