Are you inspired to create change in the world? Do you like to work with others, especially people of different backgrounds and experiences? Do you want to explore your faith through service and justice? If any of these questions resonate with you, then we invite you to consider long-term service!
What is long-term service?
Long-term service is an excellent way to develop skills and knowledge, discover more about yourself and the world, engage in serious social justice issues, and (if applicable) deepen your lived faith, all while giving back to communities in need. Long-term service is similar to having a full-time job at a nonprofit organization. Volunteers typically make one- to two-year commitments to serve with their organization in exchange for a small stipend and additional benefits, such as room and board, health insurance, and sometimes even a free Master's degree! Many of these organizations also accept undergraduate students for summer-long opportunities. There are both domestic and internationally focused programs, and the breadth of opportunities available ranges widely from healthcare to education, from advocacy work to social service provision. Some organizations have their volunteers live together in a community house, while others do not. Many long-term service organizations are faith-based, but others are simply rooted in values such as service, justice, community, and simplicity, without any connection to a faith tradition.
Why do long-term service?
Students and alumni give us many reasons why they choose to pursue long-term service after graduating. Some of the most common reasons are below:
- Desire to "give back" the many gifts one has been given, and/or to serve God
- Desire to live in community and receive guidance when transitioning to adult life after college
- Gain relevant work and real-life experience to aid in the discernment of future career or grad school decisions
- Grow in faith and put faith into action
- Receive a service education award or a masters degree (does not apply to all service organizations)
How do I know if long-term service is for me?
There are many things you can do to help you discern if service after graduation will be fulfilling for you! Just a few are listed below:
- Check out our resource page: there you will find discernment prayers, as well as questions to ask of yourself and of service organizations.
- Set up a time to chat with a campus minister: we can answer any questions, suggest programs that fit your interest, and even share from our own experience with long-term service!
- Talk to CUA alumni who have done long-term service: we keep in touch with our alumni and would be happy to connect you with them.
- Attend the Long-Term Service Fair in the fall or a panel with CUA long-term service alumni in the spring
- Apply for our Summer of Service program! If you are a freshman, sophomore, or junior, doing our Summer of Service program is a great way to discern service after graduation.
Summer of Service 2022
The Summer of Service Program is a chance for freshman, sophomore, and junior undergraduate students to partner with established volunteer organizations, engaging in approximately two months of direct service, while living in the communities where they work.