Faith-Justice Institute

Freshmen Service-Learning Information

Coming to SJU, I had no idea what awaited me. I knew I would be exposed to “the real world” more than ever have before, but I never imagined I would learn and grow so much from the exposure. My service-learning experience, both in and outside of the classroom, has brought my understanding of the community, and world around me to an unexpected height. Reading about the social problems and solutions in class is one thing, but physically seeing the problems and then creating positive change is an experience in itself. This experience will stay with me forever because service-learning has truly changed my life.”

-Rosanna DeFilippo 2015

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Interest freshman students click here to complete a form with your personal information.  

Click here if you would like to hear from our current students.


Quick Facts about Freshman Service-Learning.

  • In line the Jesuit mission of Saint Joseph’s University, your service work will engage you with a particular marginalized population such as men and women who are homeless, people who are economically poor, adults with mental or physical disabilities, the elderly or children attending inner-city schools.
  • All Saint Joseph’s students are required to take a English, First Year Seminar, Philosophy and Social Science course. You can choose to take one of these courses as a service-learning class (in a small setting with lots of support) or without the service-learning requirement. There is also a special course section desingated for Education majors.
  • Students attend class two or three times a week and volunteer weekly for three hours for both the fall and spring semesters.
  • Students volunteer with at least one other person in their class on the same day and at the same time, at the same site for the entire academic year, such as every Monday from 3:00pm-6:00pm at Project HOME’s Kairos House.
  • All service-learning placements are valuable learning experiences. Freshmen have the opportunity to review all possible placement sites and report three preferences. While we try to honor student preference, placement occurs with both agency and student’s scheduling compatibility.
  • Most of the placement sites are urban sites located in inner-city Philadelphia. Many of these agencies have worked with the Saint Joseph’s University Service-Learning Program for the past fifteen years and are committed to the care of our students.
  • We provide transportation to most placement sites through the student use of our service-learning vehicles. Students can walk or take public transportation to placement sites close to campus. Bus tokens are provided.
  • Students travel to their sites in teams of two or three. Freshman students never travel alone.
  • Service time begins at the end of September, after you have received an orientation and had time to ease into college life.
  • Service-Learning students engage in reflection dinners and community building activities with their classmates, professors and peer mentors.
  • Service-Learning students report that being involved with our program is the best experience they have had in college.

What Current Freshman Service-Learning Students Want You To Know

The students currently taking service-learning courses told us that when they received this letter, they were concerned about the time commitment. They asked us to pass some information on to you: it IS possible to fit in the three hours of required service each week. These freshmen loved their experience and want others to have the same opportunity they had. They want you to know that you can do it.

Something else they want us to pass on is that service-learning is hard work. It takes time and effort to learn about the lives and hear the stories of men, women, and children struggling with mental illness, homelessness and other circumstances keeping them living at the margins of society. Each week, you will encounter vulnerable people who may have difficulty trusting others. You have to put yourself out there. You have to be willing to take risks. You need initiative, motivation, energy and, most of all, compassion. The students working in service-learning courses at Saint Joseph’s are interested in learning what it means to be the “men and women for others” and “in solidarity with those most in need” as the Jesuits espouse.


For further information or questions, contact:
Ann Marie Jursca Keffer, MSW
Associate Director of the Faith-Justice Institute
Service-Learning Coordinator
Phone: 610-660-1337
E-mail: ajursca@sju.edu