Getting Started

Getting Started with the Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP)

 

SERVICE OPTIONS

What kind of service work are students involved in through the SSLP?

Each summer, SSLP students serve at 180 non-profits, hospitals, parishes, schools, summer camps, and other community-based organizations that work with a wide variety of populations. Most SSLP placements prioritize opportunities for students to build meaningful relationships with the people served by their organizations. For a full list of SSLP partner organizations, look through the SSLP Site Directory, which is searchable by state and site category.  

How can I find out more about a particular organization on the list that I’m interested in?

The online site directory provides a brief outline of the organizations to introduce various types of SSLP placements. It’s best to remain open to multiple site placements since other students are applying at the same time as you are.  After the SSLP Interview, the SSLP placement meeting provides an opportunity to gain in-depth information about each site. You will then be able to read through folders of information on each site including the papers of last year’s students and to ask more questions of the SSLP staff.  

How does the SSLP apply to my major or career goals?

The SSLP provides hand-on, technical experiences at non-profit agencies across the country. Whether you are working at a health clinic, running a children's summer program, or planning fundraising events for a homeless shelter, you are treated as part of the staff and expected to act like a professional. Many students find that the SSLP is a formative experience that connects directly to your studies, no matter what major, and to the type of professional that you aspire to be some day. 

What is the time commitment to one’s SSLP organization?

Starting and ending dates vary based on the organization and are listed on the online site directory. Students work at least 35 hours a week (and more for overnight camps and other placements) for 8 consecutive weeks at their organizations. SSLP students are not volunteers; they are members of the staff of their organizations for the summer. As such, students should arrange for family vacations to take place either before or after the start of their 8-week immersion.

 

APPLICATION TIPS

Are there any requirements to be able to apply for the SSLP?

Yes, students must have previous service experience, be in academic good standing, and be available for eight consecutive weeks during the summer.

The SSLP application is available from November 1, 2018 to February 1, 2019.  When should I submit my application?

We match students with SSLP placements on a rolling basis, so it is to your advantage to apply, interview, and have your placement meeting as early as possible so there are more placement options available to you. This is particularly true for students interested in a health care site. 

Does applying and going through the interview and placement process guarantee placement at an SSLP site?

No, being invited to the interview or placement process does not guarantee you a SSLP placement offer and the process allows you opportunities to consider other options for the summer as well. You are not locked into an SSLP site until you are made an offer, and you accept and sign the contract.

How does being abroad affect my ability to apply and participate?

Students abroad in the fall semester can apply online starting November 1 and choose an interview time in January.  Students who are going abroad in the spring semester need to apply, interview, and have a placement meeting before December 9.  Those who will be abroad after completing the SSLP (either the fall 2018 or the whole 2018–19 academic year) will need to turn in all their assignments before going abroad. They will take the follow-up course sessions in the semester that they return to campus.

I have already participated in a SSLP. Can I do another one?

Yes, second time SSLP students will be asked to process the articulate the experience on a deeper level. There are two options for students: 

  1. Work with a professor of your choice on a specific research topic. You will need to have a professor, topic, reading materials, and final assignment proposal (usually 20–25 page paper) in place by April, 2019. Students will register under the specific professor's directed readings course number for the Fall of 2019. 
  2. Work within a small group of 5–6 second time students, sharing thoughts, reflections, and research on a focused topic. This topic has already been broadly identified, and is open to all majors. Students will form a reading/research/writing group and submit a 15-page paper each by August of 2019. Students will receive three graded credits under Prof. Clemens Sedmak's directed readings theology course. If students wish to apply the research work to their major, they can identify a professor in their discipline to consult with Prof. Sedmak on applying the three credits to their specific discipline. 

For more questions about a Directed Readings option, contact Emily Garvey.

Do I have to be Catholic or Christian to participate since it’s a theology course?

No, students from all faith backgrounds are encouraged to apply, as well as students who do not practice a religious tradition. As a theology course, the SSLP looks to the Church’s intellectual and moral resources, such as the Catholic social tradition, to provide one framework for thinking about and responding to the social issues students will encounter during the summer.  

I am student at  Saint Mary’s College or Holy Cross College. Can I apply?

Yes, interested students should contact Maria Surat at Holy Cross or Rebekah Go-Deline at Saint Mary’s to find out when to apply and how to set up an interview.

 

HOUSING, FOOD, AND TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

(during the 8-week immersion) 

Where will I live during the SSLP placement?

Housing is arranged by the Notre Dame Club sponsoring the placement and is at no cost to you. Clubs may arrange for students to live “on site” at the organization where you’ll be working, or near the site with other students or community members, with a Notre Dame alumni host family. Other students live at home and commute each day to their site placements.  

Will my meals be covered?

Yes, we ask Notre Dame Clubs to ensure your room and board is provided at no cost to you. Possible arrangements include eating meals with your host family or at your service organization, receiving a food stipend to prepare your own meals, or eating at your own home.  

Do I need a car to participate?

The SSLP site directory lists which sites require a student to have her or his own vehicle due to the living arrangements of each placement. Having a car increases the number of placements where you might be an eligible candidate. Students without vehicles are encouraged to apply early and to be particularly flexible considering multiple placement options in order to increase your chances of being placed at a site.  

Can I take work time off during my SSLP for family vacations, conferences, or other events?

No, the SSLP is an eight-week immersion. Participating means you are committing to be at your site for eight consecutive weeks which will allow you to be as fully present as possible and gain the most from the experience. Schedule family vacations and other events before or after the SSLP and if you don’t have eight consecutive weeks available this summer due to study abroad or other commitments, we encourage you to apply next summer. Exceptions include family weddings and family funerals since students don’t have control over when these take place.  

Will I be able to visit my family over the summer?

We encourage families to visit and meet the people with whom students work, with the permission of the site. Some sites require working on weekends and evening hours, so time off may vary. Students serving in locations within driving distance of their hometowns may travel home to visit family several weekends throughout the summer if you communicate in advance with your site, ND Club, and host family (as applicable) and ensure you don’t miss any SSLP commitments. 

Are all sites willing to have a SSLP student for any eight week period during the summer, or does each site have a specific date range that they can host a student?

Each site listing on the SSLP website includes a range of dates. In some cases, sites require students for one specific eight week range, and other sites list multiple date ranges. If the site you’re placed at lists multiple date ranges, you will confirm with them when you finalize your placement exactly which set of eight weeks you’ll be working.  

How are safety concerns addressed?

The SSLP orientation covers general safety information, and site-specific information is given by the site upon the student’s arrival to his or her placement. The sites have developed relationships in the communities where they are located and so will be able to advise students regarding appropriate safety precautions. If a student has concerns while at the site, he or she should discuss them with the site supervisor, and if further steps need to be taken, contact the SSLP office.

 

SCHOLARSHIP AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION

SSLP participants receive a stipend and scholarship totaling $2,700. Students typically receive $500 shortly before their immersion begins, to offset incidental expenses over the summer. Then a $2,200 scholarship is applied to their student accounts to offset Fall tuition expenses. Housing and food are provided for students living on site or with alumni host families. For participants with high financial need, a program fee waiver and travel assistance may be possible.  View this SSLP & Financial Aid video or go to SSLP Financial and Scholarship for more information. 

Questions?

Contact Emily Garvey, Summer Service Learning Program Assistant Director

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