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Press Release for Wednesday, June 25, 2014

UNF Interfaith Center Only Public University to Win National IFYC Award

Jessica Scott, Public Relations Specialist

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2192


The University of North Florida Interfaith Center is the only public university and the only Florida university to win a national Interfaith Youth Core Award. Of the 162 competing schools across the country, only six were named winners by the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that works with institutions of higher learning to build interfaith cooperation by committing to religious diversity on an institution-wide basis.


UNF student leaders in the Interfaith Center were recognized for the “ Better Together @ UNF ” campaign, a national movement across college campuses in which people organize across lines of religious difference to make an impact on some of the most important issues. The purpose is to show that various religious and philosophical backgrounds can be a bridge of cooperation and that the world can be made better together. 


“The Interfaith Center’s professional staff serves as mentors to the student leaders of Better Together @ UNF, which was formed by UNF senior Hana Ashchi two years ago,” said Dr. Tarah Trueblood, Center director. “We could not be more proud of their achievements. Recognition by Interfaith Youth Core is well deserved.”


The goal of the “Better Together @ UNF campaign is to raise awareness about human trafficking. Florida is ranked third in the United States for the most reported human trafficking cases, making this issue particularly relevant. The UNF group strategically partnered with  Rethreaded , a local organization that works with survivors of the sex trade, and made their primary goal to help the community understand human trafficking as a reality.  


The campaign featured informational sessions, documentaries, survivor talks, art exhibits and a series of community service projects to inform the campus about the issue. The group incorporated the issue into a Better Together Day event in April, gathering donations for a human trafficking survivor drive. In total, the campaign reached 3,000 people on campus and showed how interfaith leadership can have an impact on an important issue.


The “Better Together @ UNF campaign lasted through the 2013-14 school year and tied in with President Obama’s call to action in his “ Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge ,” which encouraged students and communities across the country to bridge the differences in belief systems and serve the community for the greater good.

The mission of the UNF Interfaith Center is to engage the UNF campus around religious pluralism, support the religious and non-religious identities of students and provide distinctive programs and services for students to voice values, engage with others, act together and lead others to do likewise.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.