Saint Louis University

Robert Wassel, Eboo Patel and Sara Rahim
From left, Bobby Wassel, assistant director for the Center for Service and Community Engagement; Eboo Patel, founder and CEO of Interfaith Youth Core; and Sara Rahim, student in the College for Public Health and Social Justice. Submitted photo

Saint Louis University was one of a handful of institutions that received special recognition at the third annual President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering held in Washington D.C. Sept. 23-24.

At the gathering, SLU students and staff got the opportunity to meet with like-minded proponents of interfaith efforts, including current U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Student Sara Rahim, from the College for Public Health and Social Justice, was part of a student panel at the closing plenary session. Rahim answered various questions about interfaith dialogue from Eboo Patel, founder and CEO of Interfaith Youth Core and national bestselling author of books such as Acts of Faith and Sacred Ground.

"Working with the President's Challenge these past three years, I've observed SLU administration recognize our campus' faith diversity and make interfaith inclusion an institutionalized priority," Rahim said. "Being recognized for these efforts on a national platform makes me proud to be part of a university that values inter-religious dialogue and service because of our Jesuit mission."

SLU also presented at a session titled "Evaluating Interfaith and Service Engagement," and was recognized for its efforts in promoting interfaith dialogue and meaningful service amongst students.

Launched in March 2011 by President Barack Obama, the challenge calls for campuses to advance interfaith service and interfaith engagement over the course of one year.

SLU has participated each year, and over the course of the challenge, there have been nearly 100 interfaith and service events held on campus with more than 7,000 people participating.