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Core Curriculum

ELSJ Overview

  • Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach S.J.

    “Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering, and engage in it constructively."

    — “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American, Jesuit Higher Education,” address at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, October 6, 2000.

Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) is one of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements that makes a Santa Clara education truly unique. A University-wide requirement such as ELSJ currently exists within only a small number of universities across the U.S. and has a distinctly Jesuit flavor. ELSJ courses at SCU involve community-based learning (CBL), through which 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 academic components of the course.

SCU is committed to providing ELSJ 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. 

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.

Student ELSJ Experiences

Learn about what past SCU students have learned and accomplished through the ELSJ core requirement. 

  • Friday, February 12, 2016

    AT A GLANCE: Business professor uses his experience as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer to teach students inside and outside the classroom

  • Thursday, February 11, 2016

    AT A GLANCE: Photographer Pat Semansky first went to New Orleans on a Santa Clara immersion trip. Now he lives there and spends his time documenting ongoing attempts to rebuild the Big Easy.

  • Thursday, February 11, 2016

    AT A GLANCE: Photography professor's work in Burkina Faso offers students a one-of-a-kind experience