Two years ago, the White House made headlines by planting a vegetable garden on the South Lawn. The goal, said First Lady Michelle Obama, was to educate people – both adults and especially kids – about healthy, local eating and spread those values across the country.
Now, the White House is taking similarly inspiring steps towards promoting interfaith service on college campuses. The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge “[invites] institutions of higher education to commit to a year of interfaith cooperation and community service programming on campus. This programming might take the form of campus Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular student organizations implementing a specific year-long community service project. It might also involve students from a campus partnering with local religious groups to tackle a specific community challenge together.”
Service learning and student volunteering in the communities that house college campuses are already growing in popularity at universities across the country. On a personal note, the service learning work I did as a senior at Middlebury College – helping a local organization called the Toxics Action Center generate a report and map of the state’s major toxins (something it did not have the resources to do without volunteer help) – was among my most rewarding college experiences. Now, the White House is taking things a step further, to use service as a tool for bringing people together across faiths.
Click here to find out more about how you and your campus can get involved with this initiative. And below, check out President Barack Obama talking about how community service strengthened his own faith: