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Student Life
About Beyond U
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About Beyond U

Our capstone local community service learning program, Beyond U pairs responsible and passionate students with a local organization to engage in a multi-component service-learning experience, exposing them to non-profit work and local social justice issues.

 

Designed for upper-year participants, Beyond U gives students the opportunity to engage with a local not-for-profit through an immersive 12-14 week internship. The program provides students with experience working directly with organizations and community members to address key issues in our community, such as homelessness, poverty, health and wellness, gender equality, and more. Through this volunteer work, Beyond U participants gain a thoughrough understanding of how the community-based organization functions, the populations they serve, and the values they set as their foundation.

 

At the same time, students are equipped with reflection tools and coached to seek a deeper understanding of themselves and their community through the experience of service. Through workshops, dialouge, 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.

History
In early 2015, the Office of Student Experience (now Student Affairs), working in collaboration with the Office of Advancement and the Working Centre, launched a new social-stewardship initiative for undergraduate students at St. Jerome’s University. Motivated by the integral support and ideation of a specific donor, the University was able to launch a new initiative that allowed upper-year students to complete an internship in a local not-for-profit organization, engage in community-based learning about local democracy and create a local social-design project for the community, based on needs they identified in their experience.
Student Outcomes
  • 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.
Requirements
Ideal Beyond U candidates are full-time undergraduate students who have displayed exceptional passion for, and engagement in, social justice and service learning experiences. In the program, students will be pushed outside of their comfort zones to develop deeper understandings of local development and democracy and work.
 
A Beyond U Program Participant is a student who, because of their maturity, responsibility, and passion for service and learning experientially, has been selected to work with a local KW organization and St. Jerome’s University to gain a deeper understanding of local social justice issues and develop a local service-learning project for fellow students to engage with.
 
Program participants embody an approachable, responsible, mature, and professional character that is willing to embrace encounters with local social justice and development issues. They are willing to witness the realities faced by many people in our community and act to support the dignity of all and to develop a more inclusive community.
Program Overview
Placement Experience
Program paricipants will participate in a twelve week, local placement which will consist of:
  • 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
 
Reflection Program
Program participants will also take part in a reflection program that will help them explore, articulate, analyze, and respond to their experience. This will consist of:
  • Integration meetings with the Service Learning Coordinator;
  • Reflection activities;
  • 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