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Juniata's Faith-based Service Program Honored by White House

(Posted January 29, 2014)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Office of Campus Ministry was recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service for Juniata's yearlong participation in The President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge for the college's activities during the 2012-2013 academic year.

"I commend the students and staff who are promoting interfaith community service on college campuses across our country, wrote President Barack Obama in a letter congratulating participants. "Thank you for your commitment to service, and I wish you all the best as you continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of others."

"I commend the students and staff who are promoting interfaith community service on college campuses across our country. Thank you for your commitment to service, and I wish you all the best as you continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of others."
President Barack Obama, in a letter congratulating participants.

The campus challenge, which is a U.S. Department of Education program, was focused around the 2012 inaugural year.

Juniata was recognized for its innovative Planting Seeds program, which centered on three service topics, food, hunger and farming. One of the year's initial events featured a service day on local Amish and Mennonite farms near Belleville, Pa. A contingent of Juniata students, led by Lauren Seganos, an Americorps volunteer who worked as the interfaith service coordinator for the 2012-2013 academic year, and Grace Fala, professor of communication, performed odd jobs on various farms, including fruit picking, yard work and gathering firewood.

Throughout the course of the year, Seganos also organized a series of bread-baking events centered on baking bread recipes from various international traditions and cultures. The group made breads from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and also created pastries from the Pennsylvania Dutch culinary tradition.

After the baking, Seganos would lead a discussion. Finished bread would be donated to the soup kitchen at the Huntingdon Presbyterian Church. "We talked to them about what we made and why we made it together and then we shared a meal with the people at the soup kitchen," said Seganos in a Campus Opinions interview last year.

The Planting Seeds program also organized film showing throughout the year and collaborated with Hillel, the Juniata student club for Jewish students, to plan the college's Freedom Seder.

Juniata was one of more than 250 colleges to participate in the campus challenge.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.