Our capstone local community service learning initiative, Beyond U pairs responsible and passionate students with a local organization to experience a multi-component experience, exposing them to non-profit work and local social justice causes.
Designed for upper-year participants, Beyond U gives students the opportunity to engage with a local non-for-profit that provides context to the issues students are interested in (homelessness, poverty, health and wellness, gender equality, etc.). The program provides students with experiences in working directly with organizations and community members, as well as engaging other St. Jerome’s University and University of Waterloo students in community education initiatives.
A Beyond U Program Participant (BUPP) has the opportunity to work within a community-based organization to gain a thorough understanding of how they function, the populations they serve and the values they set as their foundation.
After their placement, a BUPP then completes a guided experience that will aid them in reflecting on and processing the placement. Through a variety of reflection tools and a culminating project, students will articulate not only key social justice issues they encountered, but also who experiences these issues, what work is being done to meet these issues, and what work still needs to be done. They will develop a critical framework for articulating the connections and complexities of justice issues that they witnessed and the strengths and growth areas of the initiatives and systems that are built to meet them.
- Form meaningful interpersonal relationships within a community organization, including with the staff and population served.
- Gain deeper insights at an analysis and synthesis level into local social justice issues from several perspectives and points of view.
- Explore, through intentional reflection, their connection to and role in addressing different social justice issues they encounter.
- Develop effective communication and interpersonal skills that incorporate the values of respect and dignity for all in every interaction.
- Work at the intersection between creation, innovation and socially responsible action.
25-35 hours/week of service at a community based organization;
Regular meetings with supervisor to discuss strengths, challenges, and opportunities;
Workshops on non-profit related topics
Integration meetings with the Service Learning Coordinator;
Training and workshops on non-profit related topics;
A culminating project, agreed upon by the student and the Service Learning Coordinator that captures and explores the complexity of one (or a few) social justice issues chosen by the student;
Participate in knowledge-sharing opportunities in the SJU and wider community