Student Life
About Beyond U
Image of three faculties in conference room
About Beyond U

Our capstone local community service learning initiative, Beyond U pairs responsible and passionate students with a local organization to experience a multi-component experience, exposing them to non-profit work and local social justice causes.


Designed for upper-year participants, Beyond U gives students the opportunity to engage with a local non-for-profit that provides context to the issues students are interested in (homelessness, poverty, health and wellness, gender equality, etc.). The program provides students with experiences in working directly with organizations and community members, as well as engaging other St. Jerome’s University and University of Waterloo students in community education initiatives.


A Beyond U Program Participant (BUPP) has the opportunity to work within a community-based organization to gain a thorough understanding of how they function, the populations they serve and the values they set as their foundation.


After their placement, a BUPP then completes a guided experience that will aid them in reflecting on and processing the placement. Through a variety of reflection tools and a culminating project, students will articulate not only key social justice issues they encountered, but also who experiences these issues, what work is being done to meet these issues, and what work still needs to be done. They will develop a critical framework for articulating the connections and complexities of justice issues that they witnessed and the strengths and growth areas of the initiatives and systems that are built to meet them.

In early 2015, the Office of Student Experience (now Student Affairs), working in collaboration with the Office of Advancement and the Working Centre, launched a new social-stewardship initiative for undergraduate students at St. Jerome’s University. Motivated by the integral support and ideation of a specific donor, the University was able to launch a new initiative that allowed upper-year students to complete an internship in a local non-for-profit organization, engage in community-based learning about local democracy and create a local social-design project for the community, based on needs they identified in their experience.
Student Outcomes
  • Form meaningful interpersonal relationships within a community organization, including with the staff and population served.
  • Gain deeper insights at an analysis and synthesis level into local social justice issues from several perspectives and points of view.
  • Explore, through intentional reflection, their connection to and role in addressing different social justice issues they encounter.
  • Develop effective communication and interpersonal skills that incorporate the values of respect and dignity for all in every interaction.
  • Work at the intersection between creation, innovation and socially responsible action.
Ideal Beyond U candidates are full-time undergraduate students who have displayed exceptional passion for, and engagement in, social justice and service learning experiences. In the program, students will be pushed outside of their comfort zones to develop deeper understandings of local development and democracy and work at the intersection of justice and design.
A Beyond U Program Participant (BUPP) is a student who, because of their maturity, responsibility, and passion for service and learning experientially, has been selected to work with a local KW organization and St. Jerome’s University to gain a deeper understanding of local social justice issues and develop a local service-learning project for fellow students to engage with.
A BUPP embodies an approachable, responsible, mature, and professional character that is willing to embrace encounters with local social justice and development issues. They are willing to witness the realities faced by many people in our community and act to support the dignity of all and to develop a more inclusive community.
Program Overview
Placement Experience
BUPPs will participate in a twelve week, local placement which will consist of:
  • 25-35 hours/week of service at a community based organization;
  • Regular meetings with supervisor to discuss strengths, challenges, and opportunities;
  • Workshops on non-profit related topics
Reflection Program
BUPPs will also participate in a reflection program that will help them explore, articulate, analyze, and respond to their experience. This will consist of:
  • Integration meetings with the Service Learning Coordinator;
  • Reflection activities;
  • Training and workshops on non-profit related topics;
  • A culminating project, agreed upon by the student and the Service Learning Coordinator that captures and explores the complexity of one (or a few) social justice issues chosen by the student;
  • Participate in knowledge-sharing opportunities in the SJU and wider community