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Center for Service & Learning

Inspired by our Catholic, Franciscan tradition, the Center for Service & Learning (CS&L) is a catalyst for impactful community engagement experiences.

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  • About CS&L: We collaborate with students, faculty, staff and community partners to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources of the University for the common good.

    The CS&L supports faculty who teach community-engaged courses, collaborates with community partners to address societal needs, is home to SFUServes Ambassadors program, and sponsors a domestic and international service mission trips. 

    2016/2017 Annual Update

    SFU Serves: Community Engagement Videos

    • A Heart for Service
    • Community-Engaged Courses
    • SFUServes Ambassadors
    • Domestic & International Service Mission Trips
    • Community Partners
    A Heart for Service

    Students with a heart for service seem to gravitate to Saint Francis University. Community service is deeply embedded in the culture of the institution, and is one of the six transformational experiences identified in the University’s strategic plan…Francis 2020

    Our heart for service comes from the lessons that our patron St. Francis of Assisi himself imparted on us. St. Francis taught us that those have been given much are expected to give back. 

    In 2017-18, our students recorded 19,033 hours of community service, valued at more than $459,000 dollars, according to the Independent Source. Service is a way of life for our athletes, Greek communities, and every student organization on campus. Many faculty embed service opportunities in course work and in research projects so students can learn academic content by helping others. 

    Student who record more than 100 hours of service during their undergraduate years, can "check" community service off their L.I.S.T., and are recognized at the Become that Someone Community Engagement Awards event. 


    Community-Engaged Courses

    Community-engaged (CE) courses reflect the Carnegie Foundation's tenants of community engagement...the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their large communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. In CE courses, students apply what they are learning in class to meet a community need, guided by their professor and collaborating with a community partner.  

    All students are also required to take Franciscan Values for Today which has a 10 hour service-learning requirement.

    SFUServes Ambassadors

    SFU Servces Logo

    SFUServes Ambassador Program pairs students with faculty who are teaching a community-engaged course or who are responsible for large community service projects. The Ambassadors earn wages, as well as gain valuable organizational and leadership skills by assisting faculty. Current Ambassadors are helping faculty with R.O.C.K., American Sign Language, and Center for Watershed Research & Service, Science Outreach Center, WWII Museum, and Institute for Energy, and the Toy Lending Library.  Interested in becoming a SFUServes Ambassador? Contact Denise Farabaugh.


    Domestic & International Service Mission Trips

    AJ with Kids (HUGS)

    Alternative Spring Break

    HUGS LogoMany students choose to spend their spring break serving others, both internationally and domestically.  The HUGS (Helping the Underprivileged by Giving our Service) program welcomes volunteers from all academic disciplines. Health science majors provide medical care and rehabilitation therapy in rural clinics. Spanish minors provide medical translations services. Business majors conduct a micro-lending program. Science majors restore wetlands and assist at a camp for Bahamian children. Education majors assist at a special needs school. Since 2006, HUGS volunteers have traveled to the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Jamaica,  Nicaragua, and St. Lucia.

      HUGS Application

    Habitat for Humanity

    Students also participate in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge. In recent years, students have traveled to South Carolina and Florida over spring break.

    Domestic Day Trips

    During the academic year, the CS&L sponsors weekend trips to Altoona, Johnstown and Pittsburgh. Students help at food pantries, the Humane Society and thrift shops. 


    Community Partners

    The University welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with community partners, including non-profits, schools and government agencies who have volunteer and internship needs. 

    Learn more about becoming an official community partner with Saint Francis University. Contact us at

  • Community Engagement & Outreach News