In October of 1986 Reverend Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, visited the Fairfield campus. In an address to the members of the Fairfield University community he called on students and faculty to reflect on their roles at Fairfield. To the students he said, " You are all so gifted! You could become anything! And, for the most part, all of us have to admit that sometimes this is what we want for you: good jobs with high entry-level salaries, material success, prestige and recognition."
He went on, however, to outline a further dimension of education at Fairfield. The aim of Jesuit education, he continued, "has never been simply amassing a store of information or preparing for a job, though these are important in themselves and useful to emerging Christian leaders. The ultimate aim of Jesuit education is, rather, that full growth of the person which leads to action - action, especially, that is suffused with the spirit and presence of Jesus Christ, the Man for Others."
Father Kolvenbach here echoed a metaphor first used in 1973 by an earlier Superior General, Reverend Pedro Arrupe, S.J.. In a famous speech Father Arrupe had said, " today our primary educational objective must be to form men-for-others; men who will live not for themselves but for God and His Christ." Here at Prep, we aim to take this one step further to form men for and with others.
Sometimes we members of the Fairfield Prep Community may lose sight of this larger purpose of Jesuit education; we may define a Prep education solely in terms of college preparation and acceptance. Prep's community service program is one means by which the school broadens such a narrow understanding of the rationale for Jesuit education. In Father Kolvenbach's words, that rationale has three parts: "First to see with compassionate eyes; then to be intellectually trained in the skills that are needed for service by those more knowledgeable . . . and finally . . . to pursue justice and peace in the world." In other words, intellectual training is incomplete without compassion and a commitment to action.
These are the reasons that Prep students participate in Christian service every year in ways that become progressively more challenging. As freshmen you participated in Field Day; a one day event designed to expose you to those with life circumstances somewhat different from your own. Now, in the sophomore year, the ante goes up somewhat. As freshmen the only requirement was to attend and participate as the activities were planned for you. This year you must plan for yourselves projects which will fulfill your service requirement of 20 hours.
Where Can I Do My Service?
There are few restrictions on the forms of service acceptable for meeting this requirement. Broadly speaking, the service may be to your church, your school or your community. Many opportunities will be e-mailed to your sophomore theology teacher and posted in your classes. Churches often print similar announcements. Some of the kinds of activities in which sophomores have participated in the past are listed below:
- coaching athletic teams for elementary school students
- lectoring or altar serving in one's parish
- acting as guides at Prep Open Houses or Parent's Nights
- assisting at fairs or other events in local parishes or for other
-local non-profits such as Operation Hope in Fairfield
When questioning what counts for sophomore hours, please remember the following: you cannot be getting paid for your work and you must be working with an organization - raking a neighbors leaves or spending time with your sick grandparent are kind things to do and are encouraged, but will not count for service hours.
The list above is meant to suggest possibilities, not exhaust them. Sophomores who need further help selecting projects should consult their theology teachers or Ms Stanley, Director of Christian Service, in the Student Life Center. Ms. Stanley also sends out emails to the sophomore class about service opportunities, so keep an eye out for those if you are looking for ways to earn your hours.
Three procedures are to be followed in completing the sophomore service requirement.
1. Students must submit a Sophomore Service Proposal (link below) to their theology teacher for approval of projects prior to participating in them.
2. At least 10 hours must be completed by the end of the first semester (January 18, 2019). Failure to meet this requirement will result in the student's theology grade for the first semester being lowered by one-third a letter grade.
3. The remaining ten hours must be completed during the second semester no later than Friday, May 31, 2019. Failure to meet this requirement will result in an "F" in Theology for the school year, which means that student will not be allowed to begin his junior year until all 20 hours are completed. When the student completes his 20 hours, his grade with a 1/3 reduction will be restored.
Upon completion of a service project, each student should complete a Sophomore Service Evaluation (link below) and return it to his theology teacher. Please note that a portion of this evaluation is to be completed by the person who supervised the service project.
Important to Note
Students may receive no money of any kind for any service done to fulfill this requirement. A maximum of 5 hours will be credited for service done during the summer prior to the sophomore year. In order for a student to receive credit for a project the project must be in keeping with the Jesuit, Catholic mission and values of Fairfield Prep as so deemed by his theology teacher in consultation with the Director of Christian Service Program.