Working Side by Side

Social Concerns Seminar


This new seminar will focus on key elements that make up the field of service learning in the 21st century, helping students understand the differences between volunteering, service learning, and community-based learning plus the long and short term implications of this work on students and communities. The seminar will take place over an eight-week period with a practicum immersion taking place at fall break. Students will be able to choose between 2-3 different immersion sites this fall.

Possible immersion sites:

Immersion dates: October 16–22, 2016

The course itself will walk students through the key elements of service-learning and community-base learning in the 21st century and implications, and additionally will engage students many of the following topics:

  • Mutually beneficial partnership with communities
  • Impact (short and long term) on community and students
  • Right attitudes for service-learning
  • Consent of communities
  • The experience of suffering and the other
  • Process reflection and social analysis
  • Theological reflection, symbols, and ultimate questions
  • The importance of a framework – Catholic Social Teaching
  • Creative problem solving and the role of innovation
  • Modern Philanthropy and Innovation: The work of Charity and Justice in the 21st century (what does that look like?)
  • The importance of student participation and leadership in social change

Things to note:

  • As part of participation in a seminar, we seek to live intentionally and simply during the immersion. This may look different in each seminar and site. For example, some sites allow fewer showers, others may have simpler sleeping arrangements, meals will be healthy and simple, please be flexible. We ask that you take the opportunity to invest fully and embrace the change of pace and amenities.
  • You will receive more specific details from your site leader during preparation classes.
  • Most meals will be prepared by your team or in conjunction with your hosts at your site. Meals are provided throughout travel to and from your immersion location. You will have a limited budget for meals which will be enough to eat simply and be well nourished.
  • Site leaders will be liaison with community partner contacts.
  • You will likely be responsible for your own bedding. Please plan ahead for this as most seminar students will need to bring a sleeping bag.
  • You must participate in all class sessions and entire immersion in order to complete requirements for the course. Immersion implies over-night stays on site. If you miss any class for any reason you will be responsible for making the class up.
  • The fall 2016 seminars are football friendly.


Associated Term: 
12-15 per immersion site, 45 students max
$300 (some scholarships available based on need)
Application Process: 
  • Application process consists of two parts: (1) completed application and (2) a possible interview (you will be notified about interviews via email).
  • You cannot register for the seminar until you receive registration information from the Seminars staff.
  • Notification of seminar placement will happen on a rolling basis.
  • If you are not selected for participation in your first choice of seminars, you will be given the opportunity to participate in another seminar if there is still availability in the fall. Contact Melissa Marley Bonnichsen if you have questions,
  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing.
  • With questions about your application, email

The Fall 2016 Application has passed, however we are accepting applications for the Appalachia and Working Side by Side Seminars until full.



Associated Term: