The RUIBAL Challenge

Ruibal Challenge logo and background

The RUIBAL Challenge is an All-Freshman service program that allows a group of first-year Villanova students the opportunity build community by volunteering one day a week (3-6p) to serve and support children in inner-city Philadelphia schools and community centers.  

Purpose of RUIBAL Challenge

The RUIBAL Challenge hopes to build strong partnerships and relationships between Villanova students and the students and communities they serve with. During RUIBAL, freshmen serve as tutors, mentors, and activity coordinators, including opportunities for sports, drama, the arts, dance... just about any interest a Villanova freshmen could bring to the grammar school children, including homework help. There are four main goals of the program: to engage first-year students in building community both with their peers and with the students at the schools in which they serve; to invite freshmen in Villanova’s tradition of service and to contextualize an understanding of service which is grounded in partnership; to help freshmen discover their own “God-given gifts and talents” which will help them become life-long agents of social change, and to create long-term partnerships which forward the mission and ministry of the school communities who partner with the program.   

Who will be selected to serve?

In order to honor participants’ interest and commitment to service, we accept applications on a first come, first served basis. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.,

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Ruibal Mission

RUIBAL Challenge, a freshman-only certificate program, allows first year Villanova students the opportunity to use their unique gifts and talents to build relationships with Philadelphia students. Our volunteers also have the chance to build community with other freshmen in a unique environment. The program provides a framework in which students can learn about the justice issues which necessitate this kind of service, and reflect on how the experience of service impacts their own understanding of themselves, their world, and their spirituality.

Students serve in the spirit of St. Thomas of Villanova, who dedicated his life in service to the poor. In the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching which emphasizes a preferential option for the poor, a commitment to the Common Good, and the pursuit of solidarity, RUIBAL calls students to put their faith into action by practicing a love that does justice, building a community which creates change, and discovering a commitment which can transform their lives.

How can I learn more?

For further information see your Hall's Campus Ministry Intern or contact the RUIBAL Program Coordinator, Lisa Mehalick, St. Rita's Hall Room 112, lisa.mehalick@villanova.edu, 610-519-5178.

Dates for the Semester

Monday, Nov 25th: Freshman registration opens

Tuesday, Nov 26th: Thanksgiving break begins, no service

Monday, Dec 2nd: Service Resumes

Tuesday, Dec 3rd: Info Session in Donahue Court, South Campus, 8:15pm

Thursday, Dec 5th: Mandatory Social Justice Forum, 6:30pm 

Thursday, Dec 12th: Service ends

Friday, Dec 13th: Registration closes at 11:59pm

Friday, Dec 20th: Freshmen notified of placements

Wednesday, Jan 15th: Mandatory Freshmen Orientation, 8:00 pm

Tuesday, Jan 21st: Service Begins

Monday, Feb 17th: Mandatory Social Justice Forum, 6:30pm

Friday, Feb 28th: Spring break begins, no service

Monday, March 10th: Service resumes 

Week of April 7th: Mandatory Social Justice Forum, 6:30pm

Wednesday, April 16th: Easter break begins, no service

Tuesday, April 22nd: Service Resumes

Thursday, May 1st: Service ends

Comments from Past Participants

“This experience has changed my life and now I know that I want to work with kids forever.”

 “RUIBAL let me make friends with people I probably never would have met. RUIBAL means a lot for both the schools and for me.”

 “I have grown as a person from being involved in this program, and hope I have helped the kids in return.”

 “This program that Campus Ministry offered was the best experience I have had at Villanova!”

 “RUIBAL pretty much opened doors for me at Villanova.”

 “Being able to watch the students learn and grow was really meaningful. I love the look on a student’s face when they were able to have a breakthrough on a tough homework problem.”

 “The best part of when the Villanova students come is that it is fun and exciting.”

Ruibal Challenge