SLU Commences Community Clock Challenge


Emma Carmody

Dr. Fred Pestello speaks to SLU students at the beginning of the 200-Years-In-One Challenge.

Saint Louis University officially began their 200-Years-In-One Challenge on Nov. 14, 2017. The goal of the challenge is to accumulate 200 years—or 1,753,176 hours—worth of service within one year through the combined effort of students, faculty, and people around the globe. The challenge is open to anyone who wishes to improve the world through service, even if they are not associated with SLU.

The 200-Years-In-One Challenge officially began at 3 p.m., and featured speeches from Dr. Fred Pestello and Dan Carter, who discussed Saint Louis University’s history of service along with the service that SLU plans to achieve in the future.

As a Jesuit university, SLU has a long tradition of service within the St. Louis community. Specifically built to honor SLU’s Jesuit heritage, The 200-Years-In One Challenge is part of SLU’s bicentennial celebration and is an effort to look back at the history of SLU while making improvements for the future. In order to do this, the 200-Years-In-One Challenge is working with the Center for Service and Community Engagement along with incorporating SLU volunteering events such as Make a Difference Day and Showers of Service. Any form of volunteering is accepted for the challenge, as long as it is unpaid work and used to further the public good.

The Jesuit education is intended to inspire students to become “men and women for and with others,” encouraging students to reach out to the world and community around them. This education, focused on preparing students to pursue justice for others within their daily lives, is built around the idea of service, something to which the 200-Years-In-One Challenge is devoted.

Laura Geiser, Assistant Vice President for Brand Management, is in charge of the 200-Years-In-One Challenge. She commented that the 200-Years-In-One Challenge was proposed to address SLU’s history of service, saying, “In celebrating SLU’s bicentennial, we felt it was important not just to look back, but to give back. So many universities and institutions mark their major anniversaries with retrospectives and histories. While those things are important, we also felt that we needed to do something in the present that will impact the future. Given SLU’s longstanding commitment to service, this challenge is an especially meaningful way to celebrate our legacy.”

The amount of time that has been volunteered is displayed on the 200-YearsIn-One Clock, which is located on the southeast corner of Lindell and Grand Boulevards. Time for the clock can be logged in real-time using an online app or a link provided on SLU’s website. Currently, there is no plan to check the validity of service hours logged into the clock. According to Geiser, “We will take at face value what the participants submit. SLU’s service data has always been based on self reported hours, and this challenge will be no different. This effort is about engagement and involvement.”

SLU has faith that the challenge will be met. According to Geiser, “We are confident that the hours will be achieved. Saint Louis University students, faculty and staff always have given back in a big way. And because this challenge goes beyond our campus and includes alumni, parents, and even those not directly affiliated with SLU, we believe this effort will be a success.”

At the time of print publication, three years, two days, and 13 hours of service had already been completed.