Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) is one of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements and is what makes a Santa Clara education truly unique. A University-wide requirement such as ELSJ currently exists within only a handful of universities across the U.S. and has a distinctly Jesuit flavor. Students engage in community-based learning while at the same time taking a course to help them make that experience both meaningful and educational.
This requirement can be satisfied in two ways: with one of the approved ELSJ courses or with an ELSJ Milestone.
Community-based learning placement opportunities are available through Santa Clara programs such as Arrupe Engagement, the Kolvenbach Solidarity Program, and SCCAP.
Community-based Learning at SCU in brief
Community-based Learning (CBL) supported through Santa Clara University is informed by the Jesuit tradition. It is designed to foster moral, spiritual, and intellectual development in students, encouraging vocational discernment and a commitment to active global citizenship. Equally important are the benefits CBL contributes to the community. By bringing the skills of faculty and students to support the work of community partners, CBL helps the University to build productive and sustainable community relationships.
In academic courses at SCU that involve CBL, students will engage in critical and reflective community-based activities as a component of the curriculum of the course. These community engagement experiences generally take place off campus, yet are fully integrated with the in-class component of the course.
SCU is committed to providing CBL opportunities to students that will allow them to connect more deeply to a rigorous academic curriculum; explore issues of power, privilege, and oppression; bring knowledge from their discipline into dialogue with knowledge from the community; and experience the realities of the world for the purpose of fashioning a more humane and just society.
To read student and faculty stories about community-based learning at SCU, please visit the ELSJ Stories page.
ELSJ 9: ELSJ Milestone
Enrolled students will participate in a pre-approved Ignatian Center immersion in advance of the course. Coursework will allow students to reflect on the immersion experience and explore what it means to live in solidarity with our local and global community. Students will strengthen their ability to work sensitively and respectfully with communities that are socially, economically, and/or politically marginalized or oppressed. Course assignments include critical reflections and an academic research paper. Enrollment by permission only. Permission must be granted by the Assessment Manager for Undergraduate Studies in advance of beginning the immersion experience.
The Drahmann Academic Advising & Learning Resources Center is home to undergraduate academic advising, Tutoring and Learning Resources, and New Student Programs.
The Arrupe Weekly Engagement program bridges the gap between the classroom and the community, creating spaces for students to learn from their time with community partners in Santa Clara County and supporting faculty in the integration of this community experience into the classroom learning.
The Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education sponsors experiences in which students, faculty, staff, and alumni immerse themselves into communities that have little access to wealth, power, and privilege—locally, domestically, and abroad.
SCCAP is a student-run organization that provides students the opportunity to volunteer in the community and to explore social justice issues.
Transportation services for students taking advantage of community-based learning opportunities at Santa Clara University.
ELSJ Completion Options
1. One class, incorporating the key elements, in which all students receive ELSJ credit upon passing the course (units variable).
2. One non departmental independent study "ELSJ Milestone” class (one unit) in which the enrolled student participates in a pre-approved Ignatian Center immersion during the school break directly preceding the course. Alternately, a student may develop independent study curriculum and direct community engagement activities with a faculty supervisor/mentor that align with the ELSJ requirement. To fulfill the ELSJ requirement via the ELSJ Milestone class, the student must also submit a proposal (including syllabus and community engagement description) to the Assessment Manager for Undergraduate Studies (Andrea Brewster) for the ELSJ Milestone in advance of beginning the proposed experience. The Assessment Manager will confirm whether the student’s proposal qualifies for ELSJ. Students will submit work products to the Assessment Manager demonstrating the achievement of the ELSJ learning outcomes, following posted guidelines.