The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge: White House Convening
On August 3, 2011, Christian Brothers University (CBU) made history along with 250 other colleges and universities as it convened at the nation’s capital for the first meeting of The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. The theme for the day was the historical significance of this meeting, the first of its kind, bringing together colleges and universities from across the country who had formulated plans for interfaith and community service on their campuses.
By participating in the Challenge, CBU will be integrating a yearlong Freshmen Immersion Service initiative for incoming students beginning this fall. The goal of CBU’s Initiative is to help students build an understanding of different communities and to contribute to the common good.
Through this Challenge, CBU is incorporating ways for students to be exposed to different religions and cultures so that they can become well rounded citizens. Focusing on combating domestic poverty and educational opportunity, CBU students will volunteer tutoring hours with De La Salle Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and the Refugee Empowerment Program throughout the year. These two projects are relevant to both the University and the Memphis community because they are designed to enhance the Committee to End Homelessness entitled, “The Action Plan to End Homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County” established by the Honorable A.C. Wharton, Jr., Mayor of the City of Memphis, and Honorable Mark H. Luttrell, Mayor of Shelby County.
CBU Vice President of Mission and Identity Dr. Evelyn McDonald explains, “The crux of the matter is for college students to have interfaith relations and to engage with those outside of their normal actions. Through their varying experiences, students are better able to discover more about themselves and the world around them. CBU is taking the President’s Challenge and integrating it with our own Lasallian mission of Faith, Service and Community. This initiative is an exciting venture for the whole community.”
The students at CBU will volunteer 20 hours throughout the school year to learn about and help those less fortunate. Besides the service projects, students will be engaged in discussion groups about the plight of the homeless and the journey of refugees, as well as, Steve Lopez’s book, The Soloist.