Gardner-Webb Delegates Visit the White House

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GWU Participated in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Kick-off in Washington, D.C. on August 3

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University has had a long-standing connection to faith-based service. In fact the motto of Gardner-Webb, “Pro Deo et Humanitate” (for God and Humanity), speaks to the heart of serving God and humankind. This commitment to community service is one of the reasons Gardner-Webb University participated in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge kick-off at the White House on August 3.

Since his inauguration, President Barack Obama has emphasized the importance of interfaith service as a way for different communities and faiths to come together for the common cause of human service. The White House recognized that many American colleges, universities and seminaries were already heeding the call to serve. In response to that, the White House launched the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Each participating campus will enter into a yearlong commitment to specific community service programs.

“We will continue, and expand, our partnership with the Cleveland County Potato Project. That project provides food for those who really need it. Gardner-Webb students, faculty and staff have been heavily involved in that. We will also work with the Cleveland County Inter-faith Alliance on the homeless issue. We may be involved in covering office needs, serving meals, conducting a food drive or gathering items for the supply list,” noted Dr. Tracy Jessup, vice president for Christian Service and minister to the University. GWU will also be teaming up with Rachel’s Challenge, a national outreach designed to assist middle and high schools with campaigns focusing on anti-violence and anti-bullying through random acts of kindness, and compassion.

The Gardner-Webb delegation heard from organizers of the President’s Challenge at a White House briefing before heading from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to George Washington University for an afternoon of workshops and lectures focusing on community service.

Stephanie Richey, coordinator for Community Engagement and delegate to the Challenge kick-off, feels this is a perfect fit for GWU. “It’s who we are. Service is something that we’ve always done. One of the biggest benefits we’ll get from this event is the sharing of ideas. We will be able to hear and see what other colleges and universities are doing, and we’ll be able to share our resources with them, too,” she said.

“At Gardner-Webb we take community service in the broadest sense of the term—local, state, nationally and then worldwide. I think this is an opportunity for other people to see that. And even though this is an interfaith campus challenge regarding community service, we can work along side people of different faiths without compromising our beliefs as a Christian university. We can recognize common goals in terms of helping those within our community,” added Jessup.

The Gardner-Webb delegation is comprised of GWU President, Frank Bonner, Susan Manahan, coordinator of Service-Learning and Stephanie Richey.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University is an award-winning university of faith, service and leadership.