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Campus Ministry | Cunneen Fellowship

Sister Seton Cunneen, S.N.D., Summer Service Fellowship / Internship

Action shot of Cunneens with Seton 2015

Cunneen Fellows 2015 talk with Sr. Seton Cunneen, in whose honor the Cunneen Fellowships were established, at an event during Reunion Weekend.

The Sister Seton Cunneen Summer Service Fellowship (Cunneen Fellowship) offers Trinity students the opportunity to intern in community service and non-government organizations (NGO) for ten weeks during the summer as a way of exploring social issues and learning firsthand about community service as a way of life.

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 a service site from among any number of Trinity’s community partners or may select a community service organization or NGO (non-governmental agency) of her choice.  Applicants choose an organization/service site focused on areas of poverty, homelessness, human trafficking, and domestic violence, among other social justice concerns, as well as the education and health needs of vulnerable populations. The placement site will operate in keeping with the foundational principles of Catholic Social Teaching, which are based on the recognition that each person is sacred and has dignity and that each person is called to build a just society based on the greater good. For more information, please see “The Themes of Catholic Social Teaching” as defined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Human dignity and rights are also outlined in a similar way in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that world  citizens are called to work towards the protection of human dignity, the right to participation, and the right to life, security, and liberty of person. For more clarification, see the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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 Fellow’s 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 ten-week fellowship, each participant is required to submit a ten-page paper that reports on what she learned by working in close contact with the vulnerable population she served.  In the fall or spring 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, the school’s 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.

 

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