SOURCE: North Park University

North Park University

August 08, 2011 11:10 ET

North Park University, Chicago, Joins President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Aug 8, 2011) - Leaders from North Park University joined representatives of other higher education institutions and the Obama Administration in Washington, D.C., on August 3 for the kickoff of the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.

North Park is one of nearly 250 participating colleges and universities in the United States. The Challenge aims to strengthen communities through service and unite people across lines of faith through dialogue and understanding.

North Park University, located in Chicago's diverse Albany Park neighborhood, has promoted community service and interfaith understanding for decades, North Park president David Parkyn said. "This fits North Park so well because we come out of a faith tradition that is committed to compassion, mercy, and justice. We are located in a city where people and expressions of faith come together. This all fits very closely with our commitments and goals," he said. Joining Parkyn at the event were Dr. Joseph Jones, provost, and Dr. Terry Lindsay, dean of diversity and intercultural programs.

A mix of participating college and universities were represented at the challenge's kickoff, including community colleges, Christian colleges and universities, public and private research universities, and liberal arts schools.

In its proposal, North Park University planned to expand two existing campus-wide service opportunities to include people from different faith traditions. These include "Vikings Kid's Day," in which North Park students are paired with young children for a day of "friendship, food, fun, and football," and North Park Community Service Day, in which students, faculty, staff, and alumni develop relationships to facilitate volunteer service projects with various community partners.

The University is also planning specific events this year to promote interfaith engagement. North Park has planned an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 to honor Christians and Muslims for Thursday, September 15; a workshop and film presentation, "Fostering Christian-Muslim Relationships," during the Student Diversity Leadership Conference on October 28; a panel of three Chicago-area women who promote, support, and lead interfaith dialogue on November 14; a panel discussion on relationships between faith communities and health practices and beliefs; and a health fair to reach out to people in Albany Park with area partners such as Compassionate Care and Swedish Covenant Hospital.

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