Interfaith Dialogue & Community Service

Last spring (2011), the White House announced the establishment of the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, aimed at strengthening the relationships among diverse faith groups and promoting interfaith service efforts that benefit the broader, collective community. UCI was honored to be selected to participate in the challenge.  More than 200 campuses across the country are participating in the President’s Initiative, including a number of other UC campuses.

Click here for more information regarding the President's White House Initiative




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UCI’s program, Leap of Faith, was created in the fall by a group of student leaders, led by current Dalai Lama Scholar Armaan Rowther, who participated in a class on interfaith dialogue and service and decided to focus their efforts on hunger and nutrition. Orange County, despite its reputation for wealth and cultural privilege, has approximately 1 million residents who face hunger each month, half of whom are children. Shelters are capable of accommodating only a tenth of the county’s homeless population, and proper nutrition remains an ongoing challenge, especially for children. And while a number of faith groups already work with food banks and local volunteer initiatives, the President’s Initiative gives our campus a unique opportunity to coordinate a broadly cooperative interfaith project that strengthens us internally and engages us more constructively in the larger community.

Upcoming Events

Hunger Banquet

Monday, APRIL 16 6-8 P.M. (Pacific Ballroom D)
Learn about hunger and how you can work with others to make a difference.
Welcome by Professor Richard Matthew and community speakers

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to an overwhelming popularity, the location of the Hunger Banquet has been moved to Pacific Ballroom D for Monday April 16, from 6:00-8:00!! Also, we are raffling off some fun items, and just by attending you get entered in the raffle for a chance to win!! You must be present to win! Also, we will be collecting non-perishable food items, so please feel free to extend a helping hand in this way when you attend the event! Please encourage your members to register here!!!

Day of Service

Work with various Orange County organizations to provide food to those in need.

The Center for Living Peace is located in the University Town Center in Irvine (across the bridge from UCI, next to Lee's Sandwiches).
There will be a special welcome by the UCI Dalai Lama Scholar Armaan Rowther and Center for Living Peace Founder Kelly Thornton Smith. 
This project focuses on hunger, and on April 28th, we will be having a full day of great activities, which includes...

  • A personal visit from Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan! Hear the Queen discuss her social action concerning issues of global exchange and conflict prevention, resolution, and recovery on national, global and local levels.
  • Service at Orange County food banks and meal distribution sites to raise awareness about the severity of hunger in the local community.  Transportation will be provided.
  • An opportunity to build awareness, take action and LIVE PEACE!  Connect with other students and clubs, and complete service hours!


RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY! Click here to confirm your spot for the Day of Service.

Day of Service participants will also receive a ticket to the sold out Queen Noor of Jordan event on May 2 at UC Irvine

Day of Fasting

Commit to a day of fasting to honor those who suffer from hunger.
At 7 p.m., share a meal and your experience on the Student Center Terrace
Learn about why fasting is important in so many faith traditions.


Planning Meetings

We are currently planning three events (more info below) as part of the President’s Challenge.  UCI students have a proud tradition of community service, and we know that a number of you are already involved with local food banks and other local services, perhaps even through your community of worship. However, the President’s Challenge offers the campus a unique opportunity to bring together people from different faith groups – including those who identify as atheist or agnostic – in a way that expands our success synergistically and promotes mutual understanding and cooperation toward a shared and timely goal. This is a great opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of students and to make real contributions to both our campus and our extended communities.

  • Please join us for the planning meetings that take place evey Tuesday. 
  • Tuesdays, 5:00 pm-6:00 pm
  • Location: Board Room, Cross-Cultural Center. 
   If you cannot make the meeting times but still want to be involved, please contact 

Campus Organization Involvement

Poster Making Party- Monday, April 9th, 6-8pm

Missed the poster making party, don't worry!  Student organizations still have the opportunity to create a poster. 

We invite your organization or group to participate by creating a visual board display to promote during the Leap of Faith programs.
Your organization will have the opportunity to raise awareness of these issues as well as promote Leap of Faith.
You will have the opportunity to be recognized as a participating organization in this year's Dalai Lama event, and as advocates for peace.

The following is a list of criteria that your display must include  in order to  confirm your organization's participation in this years' series of events:

The organizations' display must illustrate:
1) Name of the organization
2) Mission of the Organization
3) Is this organization associated with religious faith, service, or advocacy against hunger issues?
4) What are your organizations views in regards to one of the following topics of choice:
a) religious faith, b) service to the community, c) advocacy against hunger issues and malnutrition

If your club or organization is interested in creating a visual display and have it be a part of Leap of Faith's Interfaith and Service display, please contact us at 949.824.6477. 

Campus Organization Partners:

Circle K International, Hillel, Autism Speaks at UCI, Global Brigades, Global Medical Brigades, Public Health Brigades, Armenian Student Association, Delta Sigma UCI, UCI CRU, Flying Sams, Buddhist Association, Atheists, Agnostics & Rationalists, Active Minds at UCI, Alkalima- The Muslim Student Magazine at UCI, Sikh Student Association, Delta Sigma Multicultural Fraternity, Bahai Club at UCI, Armenian Student Association at UCI, Muslim Student Union, Ahlulbayt Society. 

Apply to be a Dalai Lama Scholar

(Applications are no longer being accepted)

 The XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship Fund is comprised of donations from private citizens who define leadership as it relates to ethics, peace and positive national and global relations. This scholarship will be awarded to UCI undergraduate juniors and seniors who demonstrate knowledge of, academic work and belief in these ideals. The students will have advanced their particular studies and interests to a point of readiness for praxis in the community.