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Sophomore Service Learning Community

Freshmen Interested in Applying to SSLC

The Application

The Purpose

You are here because you are interested in a community of sophomores committed to service and the common good. 

Sometimes it is not enough to just do something. As a member of SSLC you will think about why you serve, and why people do not have what they need to reach their potential.  You will build friendships in the SSLC Community and relationships at your service site that will motivate you to learn so that with the support of students, faculty, instructors and community partners you can imagine a more just world.

Live, Love and Serve together.

The Details

How will I learn, reflect, and serve in Community?

  • One three credit course:  You will choose a course from a list of courses approved to fill the SSLC requirement.  Most courses fulfill a core requirement.  A section of Ethics 2050 usually taken in sophomore year is designed for SSLC students.
  • One 1 credit Integrating Seminar: This is a brave and a safe space in which students reflect on their service experience and examine the social policies and practices that affect the marginalized communities where they serve.
  • 3 hours of service each week:  Students choose from a variety of service.  There are soup kitchens, schools, afterschool, literacy programs and working with ex-offenders. We strongly encourage students to  serve at an SSLC service site because it contributes to the community aspect of SLC.  Ruibal Leadership is an SSLC service site.

Commitment to Community:  Sharing your life with others in class, in 4th hour, at service, Community dinners and social events run by the SSLC student council.  Games, picnics, competitions, off campus trips are planned for the community.

There is no GPA requirement for SSLC, however, if you are below a 2.5 the director may call you or your advisor or call you in to talk about how you will balance the 4 extra hours a week.

Study abroad during my time at SSLC?   You are not eligible for Sheehan if you are studying abroad in Fall 21.  There are often rooms available  in the spring because of students going abroad in Spring semester.

SSLC Community will live on the ground floor of Sheehan Hall (
Guaranteed Housing is not available after March 2)

February 20th
Applications are due for SSLC.   On the application you will state your preference to live in housing designated for SSLC (Ground Floor of  Sheehan Hall)  or arrange housing through the rising sophomore housing lottery.

March 3rd
You have up until this date to change your housing preference that you selected on your SSLC application.  After March 3, Residence Life will be unable to make any adjustments to your housing preferences. Residence Life will no longer be able to guarantee you a space in Sheehan, nor can they put you into the general housing lottery process for rising sophomores.

While students who have been accepted into SSLC are given priority to filling the ground floor of Sheehan, Residence Life will work to accommodate non-SSLC roommate preferences as space permits.

Do I have to live in Sheehan Hall to be a part of SSLC?
Members of SSLC are highly encouraged, though not required, to live with the community in its dedicated space.  (Honors students who live in Honors housing are welcome in SSLC)

Am I guaranteed a room in Sheehan Hall?
Space will be assigned on a first come first serve basis.  We will inform applicants when all SSLC spaces in Sheehan hall are filled.

Do I have to apply with a roommate?
No.  If you do not request a roommate one will be assigned to you through residence life

Housing Summary:
When you apply to SSLC you choose whether you want to live in Sheehan Hall or find your own housing through residence life housing lottery. If you choose to live in SSLC housing your name will be removed from the regular housing lottery on March 3.

Roommate selection.  Students will have the opportunity to identify roommate preferences when the housing contract is available in January.  They will then have until mid-March to make any adjustments/changes to their roommate preferences.

Fourth Hour" Seminar is a two-semester (one credit per semester) graded course fulfilling the requirement for members of the Sophomore Service-Learning Community.  The goals of 4th hour integrating seminar is to connect the classroom with the community through reflective dialogue and action.  Through course content, readings, class discussions, written assignments, and yearlong service placement, students will question, acknowledge and be critically aware of social narrative, policies and practices that hurt or harm the people we serve. 

Students often say that this is the most important hour of their week because they get to talk about current issues in our world with people who are open to sharing different opinions and perspectives.  It is our hope that  you will learn to ask questions that matter.

SSLC is an intentional community which means that each and everyone member seeks to build community with one another through the components of SSLC and play.  As you have seen in our video students make lasting friendships through shared life, activities, and learning.  There is a student leadership council  made up of sophomores and student leaders who plan and implement creative ways for SSLC members to get to know one another.  It could be a volleyball  tournament,  Quizzo, “among us” or Kahoot, formal dinners and informal snacks, on campus treasure hunts or off campus apple picking that make us feel connected to one another.

There are a specific number of seats reserved for SSLC students in the courses approved for SSLC.  This is a privilege given to students in SSLC because of their commitment to service and learning.  This list is  a sample of courses offered for SSLC students.  

Courses approved for SSLC have a focus on issues relevant to the individuals or communities who are marginalized or minoritized because of class, race, ethnicity, culture, or ability with a particular focus on how/why justice can be imagined.

The pre-requisites for upper-level  Themed Theology Courses are waived because of your service and 4th hour.

Ethics 2050 for SSLC:  This course is required to graduate from Villanova and is usually taken in Sophomore year.  Two sections of Ethics 2050 are designed for the community.

Ethics and Ethics for Honors students:  What it means to do good, live well, love rightly.  It is, above all, an examination of who we are, what we value, and how we come to share our lives with others.

Theology Ethics and Criminal Justice: What is true justice and to what extent does our criminal justice system implement it? This course engages Scripture, theology, and ethical theories of justice and punishment to examine the realities of criminal justice in America.  This course will allow you access serve at the prison which requires permission from Instructor and Director of Service Learning.

Education and Social Justice: We will explore how the content, context, and structure of education and how is serves.

Nature of Genocide: Genocide is perhaps the darkest of all human endeavors. This course is an attempt to shine an analytical light onto this modern phenomenon by tracing the causes of genocide through their historical, sociological, political, neurological, colonial, and religious roots.

Liberation Theology: This course is Liberation Theology calls us to see how the poor are marginalized by society, describes how to work among them to advocate on their behalf, and most importantly to use what we have in order for the poor to find their power so they can advocate for themselves.

Race, Class, and Gender:  What is oppression? Do our public policies and current legislation suggest that it is a crime to be poor? What is structural racism? Does one’s socio-economic location and embodied difference (whether gendered or raced) really matter, or are one’s life chances and opportunities merely a matter of “individual responsibility” and “hard-work”?

Politics of Whiteness: Examination of scholarship addressing the structure, function, & manifestations of "whiteness," primarily in U.S. culture, & its relationship to issues of diversity. Topics also include white supremacy, white identity, & the future of critical white studies.

History of Homelessness:  The History of Homelessness will offer an examination of the diverse societal perceptions of homelessness and poverty, and how those perceptions have shifted over time. Students will also study changes in government policy and how changing policy has affected people experiencing homelessness.

Agitating for Justice:  In movement-building work, to agitate is to hold individuals and institutions accountable to our highest values and noblest aspirations. How can we agitate Christian theologies, re-reading the Jesus tradition for communal liberation? How can Christian theologies agitate society, supporting public action for social and political change?

Growing into Justice through Agriculture

Stewardship of Creation: Sustainability and Environmental Justice:  This course presents Catholic Social Teaching on the environment, centering on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si, “On Care for our Common Home”.  

Ethics 3010 001 Ethics of Political Action:  This course seeks to explore and critically reflect on the diverse forms of political participating and civic engagement through which political change might be pursued.  Introduces students to classic forms of political participating such as voting, constituent lobbying and town hall meetings.  Students will, then, examine alternative forms of political participating by studying contemporary efforts around educational equity, agriculture labor, indigenous rights, and racial justice.


Inter-Group Relations This innovative program teaches students, faculty, and staff to create meaningful relationships and dialogue among people from different social, economic, racial, and ethnic groups.   IGR is developed on the core belief that it is only through a process of sustained and meaningful dialogue that people will understand one another better through cultural misunderstandings and personal differences. Topics examined as part of IGR programming include gender, socioeconomic status, religion/faith, race, sexual orientation, and ability. 

 SSLC Students may take 2 IGR courses to fulfill requirement.  

You will choose a service site based on your interests and academic schedules.  SLC has developed community partners over the  years who value the presence of committee volunteers who are also learning about the communities.

Please view the descriptions of service sites.

Sophomores who participated in Ruibal as freshman may continue as leaders in the program.  Sites and hours will be determined by Campus Ministry.

CCATE: Center for Culture, Art, Training  and Education
This Center based in Norristown has a wide variety of opportunities for volunteers.  From Community based research to afterschool programs, girl’s empowerment, college readiness and English Language Learning Programs.

Poverty and Homelessness: (Clearances are not necessary for these sites.)

  • Back on My Feet (running buddies with people experiencing homelessness)
  • Face to Face (dining room meal service)
  • Families Forward (family shelter)
  • Hub of Hope (working with Muslim Serve to provide food, shower, and services to people experiencing homelessness)

Domestic Abuse:

  • Laurel House (shelter times TBD, training required, Norristown) 

Adult Literacy:

  • ACLAMO (ESL and computer literacy)

Education: (Will need criminal, child abuse and FBI clearances.)

  • Boys and Girls club of Wissahickon 
  • ACCLAMO: Afterschool program in Norristown PA (Latino/Hispanic Afterschool Program) 
  • CurrentlyTrending Saturday (school for high school students who desire college and do not get the guidance at t heir schools) 
  • CCATE  see above variety of programming with children, teens, and adults
  • McClure Elementary Philadelphia (classroom aide)
  • Mighty Writers (project-based writing projects) 
  • St. Francis deSales Elementary (English language tutoring or computer coding)


  • Level: SLC students will be matched with Villanova students on campus who have differing abilities. Leveling the playing field, socially, academically, spiritually, and physically.
  • Special Olympics Athlete Practices


  • Sisters Returning HOME: Women ex-offenders returning to Society (GED, literacy, resume writing)

Prison Literacy:

  • Students in Sociology of Deviance, justice and Society and Punishment and Society or Race Crim and Justice are eligible to tutor in Phoenix Prison or be a part of a book club   


  • Vested  (Spring only):  Science, Engineering and Technology Camp (on campus program)

Office of Service Learning

Noreen Cameron, M.S., Director
Mary Aiello, Administrative Assistant

SAC 386