WFI Student Activities

One of the ways that we enact the WFI’s mission — communication as central to the creation of positive social change — is through the sponsorship of student activities that allow undergraduate students to engage specific social justice issues, and make a difference in communities across the globe, through their classwork. Thanks to the WFI, students at Villanova and across the world have the opportunity to influence and change society through communication internships and other activities funded by WFI.

Villanova University's WFI Internships in Rome

A Student intern in the Vatican

One of the ways that our scholarly mission engages undergraduate students is through support of Villanova’s WFI Internship program. WFI proudly provides financial assistance to students who travel to Rome each semester to take part in this prestigious work experience, either at the Vatican or at the United Nations.

Established over a decade ago, the WFI Internship at the Vatican has allowed students to assist with social media outreach and other tasks, seeing firsthand how people from vastly different backgrounds and cultures are united by words that capture shared beliefs. Our students were on the stage when Pope Benedict launched the Papal Twitter account, and were on the scene during the Papal Conclave and the Installation of Pope Francis. Many media outlets reported on Villanova’s interns and remarked on the uniqueness of the program.  

Installed in March 2013, Pope Francis has shared with the world his plans to advocate for those who are marginalized by society, addressing subjects that are closely connected to the WFI mission. We are fortunate that our students have the opportunity to support the Pope’s mission- truly taking part in “communication that matters.”

Begun in Fall, 2014, our newest WFI Internship at the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), students are given the opportunity to participate in international advocacy intended to end rural poverty, and enfranchise women in poor communities across the globe. We look forward to our continuing relationship with IFAD and the United Nations’ Rome-based food programs. Truly, this is an internship designed to highlight communication and the creation of a more just world.

WFI-supported Social Justice Documentary Films

Social Justice Documentary student with Professor

It’s not every day that a college student gets to learn life’s lessons alongside an ex-con inspiring others to create a better life, a teenage Burmese immigrant as he confronts the challenges of a new country, or two students with cerebral palsy who overcome the prejudice and fears of others to excel in the classroom and as managers for the Villanova men’s and women’s basketball teams. For the students of WFI’s Center for Social Justice Film, it’s just another day in the classroom.

As part of this unique program, students spend the semester learning about film and then creating documentaries that allow them to become advocates for important societal issues—sometimes staying in the Philadelphia area, sometimes journeying as far as Ghana, India, or Costa Rica. The resulting films have won awards at local, regional, national, and international documentary festivals—and in Spring 2014, our film “Heel’d” was selected as a finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 41st Student Academy Awards competition. All told, our students have told remarkable stories that have changed the lives of both the students and subjects involved, while challenging society’s view of the issues.

NEW! WFI Communication Student Grant Program

Heritage Academy, Ghana

In Summer 2014, the WFI provided a grant of $12,660 to three Villanova undergraduate alums: Lauren Colegrove, Andrew Balamaci, and Nashia Kamal. Their project sought to harness the insights they gained as students of Communication to improve the lives of others. Building on relationships they had established through Villanova’s (WFI-funded) Social Justice Documentary Film Program, they proposed to teach journalism and reporting skills to the high school students at Heritage Academy in Essiam, Ghana, and, further, to help the school establish a newspaper for their students. To see the results of this grant, please visit the new Heritage Academy’s online news site: http://issuu.com/thevoiceofheritage

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On Thursday, June 17, 2010, The Philadelphia Inquirer featured an article in their Magazine section on the life of Burmese refugee Meh Sha Lin and how Villanova students documented his plight as part of the Waterhouse Family Institute's Social Justice Documentary Program. The link below will take you to a full PDF of the article.
Promotional Poster for "Price of Life"
Promotional Poster for the Student Documentary "Price of Life"
Promotional Poster for "Meh Sha"
Promotional Poster for the Student Documentary "Meh Sha"
Promotional Poster for "Coming Off The DL"
Promotional Poster for the Student Documentary "Coming Off The DL"