HIGH POINT, N.C., June 22, 2015 – High Point University was recently named the interfaith university Rookie of the Year by the Interfaith Youth Core, one of the leading interfaith engagement and service organizations in America.
This recognition comes in response to student-led efforts within the past year to promote collaboration, service, understanding and appreciation for difference among religious and spiritual organizations on campus.
“HPU’s recognition by the IFYC is wonderful affirmation of the collective effort of our students, faculty and staff, who promote leadership and cooperation among people of diverse religious backgrounds,” says Preston Davis, minister to the university. “It’s thanks to our student groups like Interfaith United, Diversity Council, Hillel, Board of Stewards and many others for leading the way. While deepening their faith on this campus, these students are helping break stereotypes and prejudices that are harmful, and reaching out to work with others within and beyond their faith traditions to model a new, more hopeful way to be in the world.”
“Interfaith United is an integral part of High Point University because it shows how much we respect diversity, value inclusion and promote constructive dialogue,” says HPU student Reza Moghtaderi.
Several programs were held on campus throughout the past year to encourage collaboration between religious and spiritual organizations as well as engage students of various backgrounds and faiths to join together in service to others. Highlights from the year include:
- Ramadan Iftar, when Muslim and non-Muslim students and faculty joined together for a dinner after a day of fasting.
- MLK Worship and Day of Service, which included a Christian worship service remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and a day full of community service projects with area non-profits.
- HPU’s participation in the IFYC Interfaith Leadership Institute in Atlanta, attended by HPU students Tiffany Jones and Kevin Garrity, who started a new student organization called Interfaith United.
- The second annual Black Heritage Service, which celebrates African-American heritage and faith traditions. This year’s worship service included speakers from the community, HPU’s Genesis Gospel Choir, as well as North Carolina A&T State University Choir.
- Interfaith prayer vigil and “Feed Their Legacy” food drive in remembrance of three slain Muslims from Chapel Hill. The Office of International Student Services helped lead a food drive collecting 2,000 pounds of food for Out of the Garden Project, which feeds children in Guilford County.
- Interfaith Passover Seder, led by Hillel, hosted people from various backgrounds for a dinner, reading of the Exodus story and discussion.
- Lock and key donation for West End Ministries. The Board of Stewards and departments of Security, Greek Life and Interior Design collaborated to donate and install new lock-and-key and security systems for the local non-profit.
HPU, a United Methodist affiliated university by tradition, supports the spiritual growth and experience of students, faculty and staff through the Chapel and Religious Life Office, which supports the
efforts of spiritual and religious organizations representing a variety of faiths. While living out its Methodist heritage, the university is a place of hospitality to people of all traditions and seeks to bring people across cultural, religious and worldview boundaries to serve the community and world and to increase empathy and understanding of others.