Studying communication and its role in society forms the basis of the Waterhouse Family Institute. We are honored to support the field’s preeminent scholars as they examine critical issues that impact all of our lives.
Tackling these issues from an academic perspective is undoubtedly important, but it is also crucial to live our work. We strive to engage students in concrete discussion of social change and social justice and also in the practical application of responsible, thoughtful communication.
One of the ways that our scholarly mission yields tangible results is through support of Villanova’s Vatican Internship program. WFI proudly provides financial assistance to students who travel to Rome each semester to take part in this prestigious work experience.
Communicating with more than one billion Roman Catholics across the globe is a task that comes with great responsibility. Given the profound effect messages can have, this work must be approached with a clear understanding of the power of language and the significance of images. Nowhere does the act of communication promise to impact people in a more personal way.
As they assist with social media outreach and other tasks, the Vatican interns see firsthand how people from vastly different backgrounds and cultures are united by words that capture shared beliefs. This seemingly unlikely combination of youth, technology and a timeless institution did not go unnoticed 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.”
For more information on how WFI engages students in issues of social justice, please read on about the work of the Social Justice Documentaries produced by Villanova Communication majors.