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 2013. To read about what we have done from 2013 to the present, please see our President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge 2013-2015 Biannual 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. Here is a list of all the 2014 awardees. The 2015 awardees are forthcoming, stay tuned!
Annual Gathering in Washington, D.C.
We hope you will join us September 22-23 at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. The theme for the conference is “Where Do We Go From Here?” The Campus Challenge Gathering offers an opportunity for students, staff, and administrators to share experiences, learn from experts, and meet Obama Administration officials who share a commitment to community service with an interfaith engagement component. Again this year, we are inviting guests from other countries to join us for this Gathering to explore more models of interfaith service and engagement. The event is designed to be helpful for institutions of higher education that are just beginning programs in interfaith community service and for those with long traditions in this work. An important part of the program is celebrating the work happening on campuses across the country to provide students with opportunities to develop lifelong skills in interfaith cooperation and a commitment to community service. Please access the Welcome Packet and Program Agenda for details around the conference.
The Fifth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Gathering was held at Howard University on September 10-11, 2015. For the first time ever, the Gathering hosted international participants and expanded the President’s Campus Challenge to global corners. Please see our complete 2015 agenda.
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. 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.
Below are sample presentations from The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Fall Gathering. Clicking on each photo below will bring you to each individual presentation. Please also view 2016 Fall Gathering Presentations.
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
Conference Call on welcoming atmosphere for people and refugees of all faiths–December 16, 2015
Webinar Resources [PDF 67K]
Planning Template [MS Word 72K]