The Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice
Ms. Sandra Lobo Jost, Director
Ms. Caitlin Becker, Associate Coordinator of Community Service
Ms. Melissa Alvarenga, Associate Coordinator of Service Learning
McGinley Student Center, Room 101
Voice: (718) 817-4510
Fax: (718) 817-5419
The Community Service Program (CSP) is grounded in the Jesuit philosophy of hominess pro aliis, men and women for and with others. We work to create mutually beneficial relationships rooted in a respect for the dignity of all persons. We want our students to reach their full potential of mind and heart beyond the self by serving in and learning from our surrounding communities. We provide our students with tools to explore their experiences together connecting service, justice, community and spirituality. By encouraging our students to engage in praxis—an ongoing process of action and reflection—we are able to support and challenge them to fully engage in and learn from their experiences. Seeking the faith that does justice, we encourage our students to use their two feet of social action, learning solidarity through both serving directly and working for social change. At Fordham, we recognize our responsibility to the community in which we are established and to which we are connected. We serve as a liaison between the Fordham community and the local community offering a variety of University resources and access to support the exceptional work of our community partners.
Currently, over 1,200 Fordham students are involved in over 200 community and not-for-profit organizations throughout New York City. Students support and learn from local organizations that work with displaced individuals and families, homeless and formerly homeless families, senior citizens, homebound people with HIV and AIDS, and young people.
As a living-learning initiative, service learning offers students an opportunity to expand their academic experience by bringing together service in the community with the learning resources of a course. This experience is in service to an under-represented or marginalized group. Facilitated by the Community Service Program in collaboration with faculty members across the disciplines, service-learning at Fordham takes two forms, the Interdisciplinary Seminar and Integrated Service-Learning Courses. Aligned with Fordham’s mission as a Jesuit university, service-learning aims to form students in a “well-educated solidarity” (Jesuit Conference 2002, “Communal Reflection on the Jesuit Mission in Higher Education”) and to provide an opportunity to apply academic resources to the work of social justice.
First, In Integrated Courses alongside the traditional resources of readings, lectures, discussions, etc., service is employed as a learning-resource to help students achieve the learning objectives of the course. Since all students are volunteering in the community, the service experience can be fully integrated into the methods of learning in the course and enhance classroom discussions. Second, the Interdisciplinary Seminar allows students independently to make the connection between a course they are enrolled in and service to the community. By completing 30 hours of service, attending a series of five interdisciplinary seminars arranged by the Community Service Program office, and writing 2 integrative essays, the student may earn an additional 1 credit a course that connects with the service experience.
As an office, the Community Service Program (CSP) is uniquely situated to pursue Jesuit Superior General Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s call to “educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world.” Fordham students continue to be transformed by direct service experiences in the Bronx each academic year, learning about solidarity through personal involvement with the injustice others suffer. Reflection on these experiences, morally and intellectually, encouraged by CSP staff have led students to make amazing contributions to eliminating injustices beyond Fordham. CSP staff also provides support for students interested in discerning their vocation to work for social justice as a lifelong commitment and career path. As Fr. Kolvenbach said, “The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become.”
Our staff provides information and support to those who want to make a difference. Check out our Volunteer Fair in the early fall and spring semesters for these volunteer and internship opportunities. Live the Jesuit motto of men and women for others; it is an integral part of the Fordham experience!