MSU recognized for interfaith service efforts

Contact: James Carskadon

Maroon Volunteer Center Graduate Assistant Alexis Hampton, a graduate student studying student affairs, speaks with MSU sophomore and Hillel President Jacob Craig during the 2016 Interfaith Dialogue at MSU. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University’s efforts to promote interfaith service opportunities have been recently recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education.

MSU was the only school in Mississippi and one of two Southeastern Conference institutions to be selected to the 2015 President’s Higher Education and Community Service Honor Roll in the Interfaith Service category. Nationwide, MSU was one of 86 institutions recognized as leaders in interfaith service.

“One of our core values at Mississippi State is service,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. “This national recognition reiterates the university’s commitment to community service and speaks strongly to the quality of our students, faculty and staff. I’m so proud of all involved with bringing this honor to our great university.”

The land-grant university is a participant in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which was initiated by President Barack Obama in 2011 to encourage institutions of higher education to commit to interfaith and community service programming. MSU’s interfaith service efforts are featured in the most recent biennial report on the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.

The biennial report highlighted three of MSU’s interfaith service projects, which include several faith-based organizations working to distribute 100 disaster supply kits to low-resourced families in the surrounding community, the annual interfaith dialogue and the Coffee and Interfaith Conversation Series. The 2016 Interfaith Dialogue, held in October, brought people of different faiths together with religion as a bridge, not a barrier.

MSU’s Interfaith Campus Service Challenge is sponsored by the university’s Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, Maroon Volunteer Center, Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, Campus Emergency Response Team and the MSU Religious Diversity Organization.

Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, commended MSU on its interfaith service efforts in a recent letter to Keenum, noting that universities like MSU are instrumental in shaping the communities they serve.

“Thank you for recognizing the importance of service and building bridges of understanding in young adult lives,” Girton-Mitchell wrote.

In addition to recognition in the Interfaith Service category in the recently-released 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, MSU was recognized in three other categories (General Community Service, Education and Economic Opportunity). The university was one of four universities in the country recognized as a finalist in the Economic Opportunity category.

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