"Great care and concern are to be shown in receiving the poor ...because in them more particularly is Christ received; our very awe of the rich guarantees them special respect."
RB 53:15

Service Learning and Outreach

The mission of the Service Learning and Community Outreach Program is to engage students and faculty in community-centered learning which is grounded in the Catholic, Benedictine and liberal arts values of Saint Vincent College.

Facts About Outreach

Below are a few of the proven benefits from participation in Service Learning courses:

  • Increases student's ability to retain course information 
  • Increases student's understanding of course material 
  • Reduces stereotypes, facilitates racial and cultural understanding 
  • Increases analytical skills 
  • Fosters a deeper bond between professors and students 
  • Positive effect on spiritual growth 
  • Positive effect on moral development
  • Students participating in SL are more likely to graduate and become involved in community service after college
Volunteer Opportunitiesservice-learning-volunteer

Our office organizes an unprecedented amount of service into the local community as approximately 500 SVC freshmen, accompanied by faculty and student leaders, perform community service each year during freshman orientation on Saturday morning.

SVC Alternative breaks (Fall / Spring) are a time for some students to partner with recently homeless individuals, faculty and their peers to help others facing physical or financial limitations. Students assist shut-ins who needed cleaning, light remodeling and painting in their homes as well as embark on a trip to Washington D.C.

Other local events include Annual Christmas Giving Tree; resources for many student-based clubs and initiatives; post-graduate service opportunities.


Wediko, New Hampshire
This nationally accredited organization is located in the beautiful outdoors and helps youth facing psychological barriers through a summer therapeutic program and is well known as a leader in its field. A generous pay stipend ($1,250) is given upon completion of the July - August program. Education, Sociology, and Psychology majors are encouraged to apply.

L'arche, Washington D.C.
L'arche is a remarkable one of a kind community. As part of an international movement, this D.C. nonprofit location is an intergenerational, interracial faith community for people who have intellectual disabilities. Room, board, stipend and a generous benefits package included.

Newark, NJ
Teaching Assistant or Camp Counselor
3 credits (Elementary School Children) 


Course Listingservice-learning-courses
Course Offerings

RS 119 Exploring Religious Meaning
The objective of the course is to explore the meaning of the Judeo-Christian tradition primarily through the study of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, with an appreciation of the various critical methods necessary for further study.

Students serve 12 hours with a marginalized community and make correlations to course material through graded coursework. Community partners include Clelian Heights, Union Mission, Green Meadows and Latrobe Regional Health and Rehabilitation.

PL 215 Ethics
Ethics is a practical philosophy indicating, in general, what humans ought to do in light of appropriate rules of conduct and suitable ends. Some fundamental views of right and good are considered in their classical formulations by such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume, Kant and Mill. Problems and examples are used to illustrate these views and to provoke judgments regarding critical issues.

Students prepare and eat a meal with the residents at the Union Mission of Latrobe. They also participate in a scripture reflection with the residents. This experience is followed by an assignment on how the writings of Aristotle and St. Benedict answer the question: "Why should we perform such acts of service?"

TH 265 God, Work, and Money
An exploration of the Catholic Church’s social teaching on and contemporary theological study of, poverty, work and economics. It focuses on the theological foundations on economics, the Church's thought on current economic issues, and various moral analyses of current economic issues.

Students harvest crops at a local farm, which designates a portion of its land to growing fresh produce for the poor. Students also perform community-based research. This initiative was possible through new partnerships with Catholic Charities, the Food Bank and Palmers Sweet Corn.

SP 203 Intermediate Spanish I
This course is a systematic grammar review and vocabulary building, with stress on nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and the common tenses of regular and irregular verbs. Introduction to reading techniques is suitable to college level study.

Students prepare and give presentations conducive to their course material and provide fellowship with the residents of Green Meadows Assisted Living.

AR 225 & 325 Painting I and II
This intermediate level course is for students who want to learn the methods and materials of painting with oils and acrylics. Its purpose is to provide the students with solid foundation skills and an opportunity to explore a variety of approaches in the creation of paintings including layering, glazing, mixing paint medium and proper studio maintenance.

For the final project, students paint portraits of exceptional individuals with developmental disabilities from Clelian Heights.

EL 102 Language and Rhetoric
This freshman-level writing course develops students' ability to think clearly and logically and to apply principles of organization, purpose, coherence, support clarity and insight into their writing.

Student-designed activities with Green Meadows Assisted Living and Mountain View Nursing Care are the centerpiece of the service component for this course. Possible activities include; planting flowers, art projects, board games and watching movies together. 

International Service Tripsservice-learning-international
International Service Trips

Our students also have the opportunity internationally to build genuine relationships.

HaitiHaiti - Window on our Worlds

This international service learning course combines academic learning and critical reflection with relevant service in a rural Haitian community to enable students to identify critical, global issues affecting Haiti and to deepen their understanding of cross-cultural issues and the connections between the US and countries like Haiti. Through this experience students also grow in their awareness and understanding of self and contribute to building a global "culture of solidarity" and engaged citizenship at Saint Vincent College. This one credit course and service trip occur during spring break each year.

Interested in a dynamic, fun, demanding experience? Contact Jessica Adams for information. jessica.adams@stvincent.edu; 724-805-2288


The Guatemala Service Learning Trip provides students with the opportunity to interact with the population living in and around the garbage dump in Guatemala City, especially those students served at the San Francisco Coll School. As teacher aides, through informal recreational periods, and by assisting with various community improvement projects, students will participate in the life of a community struggling with extreme poverty and governmental neglect. Opportunities for prayer and reflection help to ground the trip as a gospel-centered project as students are invited to consider their own roles in global poverty and its alleviation.

Contact one of us for more information on this great experience: Kelly King at kelly.king@stvincent.edu or Dr. Christopher McMahon, Theology Department at christopher.mcmahon@stvincent.edu.


Partnering with Hekima Place, SVC students spend two weeks in Kiserian, Kenya just outside of Nairobi. Hekima Place is a home in Kenya for orphaned girls and gives them access to education. In addition, by welcoming the girls into a loving home environment, Hekima Place removes the girls from the dangers of living in the slums or on the streets, where their futures would be at serious risk. SVC students help with school work, playing games, tending to the shamba (garden). Students also visit neighboring town Karen, the giraffe center, and other local attractions.

Join the adventure. Contact Kelly King at kelly.king@stvincent.edu for more information.