Arts / Faith and Humanities / Campus Community

Honor Roll Finalist

Written by Annie Beckmann

October 13, 2014

campus tree with leaves illuminated by sunlight

The White House has included SU on a short list for a prestigious award.

The White House again shows its admiration for Seattle University, this time by naming the university an honor roll finalist for the 2014 Interfaith Community Service Award.

Kent Koth, director of the Center for Service and Community Engagement (CSCE), said SU made the top five among more than 90 universities that competed in this Presidential award category. 

"The Interfaith Community Service category is truly an honor for the whole university as our application featured three distinct SU programs: CSCE's Shinnyo-En Leadership and Justice Program, the Faith & Family Homelessness Project and Campus Ministry's Service Immersions," Koth said.

This year the annual competition, sponsored by the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, features four categories: General community service, economic opportunity, education and interfaith community service. U.S. colleges and universities submitted a total of 900 applications for the four awards. The White House is expected to announce Presidential awards in the other three categories in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.  

In 2012, the White House honored SU with the Presidential Award for community service, the highest recognition by the federal government to a college or university for its civic engagement, service learning and volunteerism. The university was one of only five universities in the nation to receive this honor and the only university cited as a Promise Neighborhoods recipient for coordinated, wrap-around, youth-focused service that supports the educational and social needs of children. A Seattle Times editorial called out the award and noted, "Seattle University serves as a national example of the difference higher education can make on its neighbors."

Then-again in 2013-Seattle University set a precedent by earning national recognition for the second consecutive year, making the President's Higher Education Honor Roll with Distinction for community service. The accolade acknowledged the university's overall commitment to service as well as its significant work to implement the Seattle University Youth Initiative, which unites the university and wider community in a long-term commitment to build a better future for young people starting with pre-kindergarten and continuing through college. 

Interfaith service at SU

These are some of the programs through which SU serves the community with an interfaith approach:

The Shinnyo-En Leadership and Justice Program fosters the integration of different spiritual traditions and perspectives into service and leadership experiences for students. It stems from an SU partnership with the Shinnyo-En Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Shinnyo-En lay Buddhist Order. 

The Faith and Family Homelessness Project mobilizes faculty, staff and students to work with 14 Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant and Evangelic congregations to promote service, education and advocacy within these congregations toward ending family homelessness. 

Campus Ministry‚Äôs Service Immersions engage students in a year-long cohort program to learn from and serve with marginalized and vulnerable communities with whom SU has long standing relationships. Over the years students have traveled to West Virginia, Belize, Ecuador and Mexico, among other places.