The U.S. Department of Education Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships works with the White House, and the Corporation for National and Community Service to lead the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, an initiative inviting institutions of higher education to commit to interfaith and community service programming.
President Obama issued the Challenge in 2011 by sending a letter to all presidents of institutions of higher education in the United States. Read more about the first two years of the Challenge in The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Inaugural Years Report. A program overview can be found here.
Interfaith service involves people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds tackling community challenges together – for example, Protestants and Catholics, Hindus and Jews, and Muslims and non-believers — building a Habitat for Humanity house together. Interfaith service impacts specific community challenges, from homelessness to mentoring to the environment, while building social capital and civility.
Join the Challenge
Currently more than 400 institutions of higher education have responded to the Challenge. They include community colleges, public and private universities, and professional schools. Schools indicate their participation by having the Chief Executive Officer or President appoint a staff member to be campus lead. Each institution designs its own program of interfaith/community service. When the sign-up form is returned to firstname.lastname@example.org, the institution will be invited to regional and national gatherings, webinars, and other opportunities to share what the institution is doing and learn from others.
President’s Interfaith and Community Service Honor Roll
Additional recognition is available to participating institutions through the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. At the Fourth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Fall Gathering in September of 2014, we celebrated the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the Interfaith Service Category. There were 98 institutions of higher education honored for their leadership in developing programs in Interfaith/Community Service. Thirty-eight of the schools are recognized “With Distinction.” Augsburg College, Seattle University, University of La Verne, and University of Pennsylvania are finalist for the Presidential Award. The award went to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Here is a list of all the awardees.
Annual Gathering in Washington, D.C.
The Fourth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering occurred on September 22-23, 2014 at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The annual gathering serves as an opportunity for students, staff, and administrators to share experiences, learn from experts, and meet administration officials who share a commitment to community service with an interfaith engagement component. This year, about 480 students, faculty, staff, and network organizations traveled from across the United States and territories. There was also an exclusive White House Forum on Monday morning that 50 university and college presidents attended. A brief summary gathered from social media can be found on Storify. Planning is already underway for the Fifth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.
Below are presentations given during the Fourth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Fall Gathering. Clicking on each photo below will bring you to each individual presentation.
The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships provides information, webinars, and training materials on the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.
Below are a number of network organizations that support the mission of the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Please note that the inclusion of any resource or program example does not mean, and should not be construed as, a promotion or endorsement of that organization, or any products or services offered by that organization, by the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships or the U.S. Department of Education.
- Campus Compact
- Hillel International
- Interfaith Youth Core
- Project Interfaith
- Secular Student Alliance
- 9/11 Unity Walk
Webinar Resources [PDF 67K]
Planning Template [MS Word 72K]