This award goes to a student group that has left a substantial mark on their campus and community this year and best demonstrates the power of interfaith partnerships.
Ohio University made a major impact this year by working hard to recognize and meet the needs of both their campus and their community. They brought the diverse experiences of students of various religious backgrounds to the forefront of campus life through holding a “Campus Conversation” that introduced the concept of speedfaithing to their campus. Then they took those conversations one step further by offering a similar speedfaithing program to train campus staff on how to incorporate interfaith into their professional development as advisors and allies. The Campus Conversation is now a regular event series that creates a space for students and staff to continue to engage in interfaith dialogue on campus.
Better Together at OU has also played a major role in organizing events such as an annual 9/11 Interfaith Peace Walk, which brings faculty, staff, students and the greater community together for a time of unity across lines of difference. By focusing on the shared values of service and community found in so many religious and philosophical traditions, Better Together at OU also works to create an environment that emphasizes the importance of engagement with their community.
For the last several years they have focused a number of events surrounding issues of water pollution and food security for lower-income people in their area, and their interfaith volunteers hauled thousands of pounds of garbage from streams in Wayne National Forest this past fall. They also sponsor regular community service and outreach events like stream cleanups and Saturday lunches, engaging over 800 students throughout the county in their interfaith service work.