In committing to sponsor a SSLP student, Notre Dame Clubs agree to arrange for students to receive housing and food for 8 weeks at no cost to the student. There are a variety of possible arrangements, but it is important to ensure that all meals are provided for students either at the place where they are staying or at their site, and that they are not isolated where they live.
Options for housing SSLP students
At The Site
- The most "immersive" option entails students living at the organization where they are also working during the day. Examples are a room at Catholic Worker Houses, an apartment in a homeless shelter, or a room in a home for the elderly. Living on site is an attractive option for many students and ND Clubs since it allows students to build relationships with those at their site in an extensive way and students often do not need to bring a vehicle for the summer. The requirement to bring a vehicle is a limiting factor for many students. Special consideration for students living on site is necessary, however, to help students get much needed recharge time away from the site and to connect with ND Club members.
- Many ND Clubs enjoy the experience of welcoming students into their homes each summer to live with them. Some host families host a student for all 8 weeks, and other host families share the responsibility of hosting by having students stay with them for two to four weeks. We ask that students not stay with more than four host families (two weeks at each) since many students find it difficult to feel settled if they move weekly.
Near The Site With an Intentional Community of Priests, Sisters, Brothers, or Volunteers
- Especially for placements where students will be working at a program run by a religious order, Clubs might consider whether a group of nuns or brothers might be able to welcome a student into their community for the summer. Students should have a clear sense for the extent to which they are invited and expected to participate in community life activities, such as common prayer. Examples are Greater Naples where the two students live near the site with Christian Brothers, and Charlotte, where two religious communities host students.
Restricting the Placement to Local Students who will live at Home
- Some ND Clubs prefer to exclusively sponsor students from their area either for logistical reasons or to develop longer-term bonds between the Club and the students. Clubs include Cincinnati (Greater) and Pittsburgh. Please be aware that requiring a local student for your placement significantly reduces the number of eligible applicants.
Special Considerations and Challenges
Some SSLP students feel isolated when living on-site by themselves. Club members should make special effort to interact with students living on-site each week. Meals provide a good opportunity for maintaining contact. One benefit of living on-site is that students frequently will not need transportation to work.
In general, students should not be asked to house-sit since many students are uncomfortable doing so and since it does not achieve the desired interaction between students and members of the Notre Dame Clubs. Exceptions can be considered if two or more students would live together and if interaction with Notre Dame Club members is planned.
SSLP students greatly value opportunities to interact with other SSLP students, volunteers, and alumni their own age during the summer. Try to connect them to other young adults when possible. A list of Notre Dame students in your area can be obtained from the Alumni Association.
SSLP students find it difficult to move multiple times throughout the summer. If possible, please arrange housing with no more than four families for the eight weeks. Our experience has been that students tend to prefer staying with no more than two host families, but we realize that this is not always possible.
Three meals need to be provided each day. Be sure students know if they can take food from the kitchen when needed. Ask students what types of food they like and include in the shopping, if possible.
Make students feel at home right away by having a drawer cleared out for their clothes, some hangers available, etc. Most students would like to have access to a computer if they do not bring their own. Please state ground rules on computer use if applicable.
We tell students that they are not guests but contributors to the family or community with which they live.
The ideal is that one or two families would host a student(s) for the eight weeks and share dinner together often, invite students into the activities of their family life, and participate in any Notre Dame Club events in the summer. Students are told during their orientation that they are expected to help with household tasks and enter into family activities as their site commitments and course commitments allow. Ground rules should be clear regarding food, chores, curfews, visitors, and invitations to family activities.
For more information, contact Ben Wilson.