National Service

The Service Year + Higher Ed Innovation Challenge

January 16, 2015

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” He also said, “Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.” As we reflect on the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, it is worth thinking about our own commitments to national service.

In that spirit, the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute recently announced a national service project challenge for colleges and universities. The goal of the Service Year + Higher Ed Innovation Challenge is to integrate service opportunities into the overall college experience.  

Created by the Franklin Project, the National Conference on Citizenship, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, all post-secondary education institutions are encouraged to participate in the contest, which runs from January 15 to April 15, 2015. Each college or university entrant will compete for a prize to support the planning and creation of new education-affiliated service year positions. There will be three categories of entrants — public, private, and community colleges — with each category winner receiving $30,000. One Audience Choice Award winner will receive a $10,000 prize.

Funding for the prizes comes from the Lumina Foundation. Visit for more information on the challenge and to submit an application.

Portions of the April 15th event will be livestreamed on the Aspen Institute website. Event updates will be featured at and A limited number of press passes are available. For more information on the Challenge, please contact