Sister Seton Cunneen, S.N.D. Summer Service Fellowship
The Sister Seton Cunneen Summer Service Fellowship (Cunneen Fellowship) offers Trinity students the opportunity to work in community service and non-government organizations (NGO) for ten weeks during the summer as a way of exploring social issues and introducing students to the commitment and value of community service as a basic tenet of Catholic social teaching.
A vital part of the educational mission of this fellowship is to link the realities of direct service needs with larger social issues. The opportunity to concentrate on particular issues and work closely with various agency staff enhances the Fellow’s perspective in understanding both the work of the agency and the greater implications for society. Key to this experience is the opportunity to interact with the population the agency serves as a valuable foundation to understanding the genuine needs and concerns of people in vulnerable situations.
Applicants for the Cunneen Fellowship program may choose from among any number of Trinity’s community partners, or may select a community service organization or NGO with prior approval of the fellowship committee. Applicants may choose an organization in an interest area such as poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, etc. or they may choose an organization with which they currently volunteer. As a Catholic college, we expect that any placement site would operate in keeping with the principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as human dignity, the right to participation, human rights and responsibilities.
The placement site is expected to provide the Cunneen Fellow with an orientation to its organization, on-going direction, supervision and opportunities for feedback. The Site Supervisor, the Cunneen Fellow and the Director of Campus Ministry participate in a site visit and an evaluation process that includes details of the Fellows participation and the program process. The Cunneen Fellow, the Site Supervisor and the Director of Campus Ministry at Trinity Washington University sign a service learning agreement that outlines expectations of the Cunneen Fellowship.
At the conclusion of the 10-week fellowship, each participant is required to submit a case study that addresses a particular occurrence or facet of her experience and explores the topic in detail. In the fall semester following the experience, Fellows are expected to give a presentation to the Trinity community about their fellowship work. Past venues for these presentations have included a celebration of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, service fair or the Sower’s Seed event. In each case, the presentation gives the student an opportunity to share her knowledge and reflections, as well as promoting the fellowship to the larger campus community.