Rhodes Representatives Attend White House Event on Service and Interfaith Work
Publication Date: 8/3/2011
The White House is launching the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, an initiative inviting institutions of higher education to commit to a year of interfaith and community service programming on campus.
Rhodes Chaplain Walter Tennyson and Madeline Patterson ’12 will attend the event today (Aug. 3) along with representatives of leading higher education institutions from around the country. They will hear presentations by senior government officials and will discuss the dynamics, challenges and opportunities presented by interfaith work.
Since his inauguration, President Obama has emphasized interfaith cooperation and community service as an important way to build understanding among different communities and contribute to the common good.
“This call from President Obama links the volunteer service Rhodes students always have done with a larger national effort, in my mind making our service more meaningful,” says Patterson, who is an international studies major with a minor in art history.
Service has long been an integral part of the Rhodes education, and last year the college was rated number one on Newsweek’s List of “Most Service-Minded Schools.”
“A world-class education today requires some experience in making progress across lines of belief and tradition. The city of Memphis offers our students a unique opportunity to step into the legacy of social change and make their mark,” says Tennyson. “The Interfaith Service Challenge will build relationships between people who may believe, act, dress and eat very differently but share common goals in civic life.”
Each campus must select a thematic priority for the challenge, and by “Working with Mayor (AC) Wharton’s office to develop a citywide plan to address youth wellness, cleaning and greening, and elderly services, we can help the entire community experience the power of getting involved to make a difference,” adds Tennyson.
Patterson, who is from Carmel, IN, currently serves as a Cities of Service Fellow in the Office of the Mayor and will help with that effort.
The White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National and Community Service will evaluate all 2011-12 campus initiatives and invite the most exemplary ones to the nation’s capital next summer.
Rhodes Chaplain Walter Tennyson and Madeline Patterson pictured here at a briefing at the White House