What if the answer to "What do you want to do when you grow up?" didn't end with a profession, but with mission. What if the answer was simply, "I want to make the world a better place."At Saint Louis University, no matter which of almost 100 different undergraduate majors they choose, students are doing just that. A SLU education builds more than knowledge. It builds character.
Continuing the Jesuit Tradition
While SLU has core classes like other institutions, its courses also emphasize the kind of ethics-based learning that guides the leaders of tomorrow toward smart decisions and sound judgments.
The result? A second-year medical student like Jeremy Goss, who is working on a mobile farmers market that improves access to healthy food to the 50,000 St. Louisans estimated to live in food deserts. Or economics major Alysha Gray, whose City Greens sustainability initiative proposes a way to bring urban agriculture to North St. Louis.
Character in the Classroom
At SLU, students find centers of study specifically dedicated to ethics in health care and business, and work toward certificates in peace and social justice or service leadership.
Starting as freshmen, they can live together in Micah House, taking courses together, performing community service and focusing part of their studies on The Urban Project. With participation from more than a dozen academic programs and departments at SLU, the project's students work together to address pressing problems in the inner city and can earn a certificate in Urban Social Justice.
When professors say the words "learning experience" at SLU, they really mean it.
Through service learning, students can spend between 15 to 30 hours in a semester helping to erase health disparities, homelessness, hunger and other problems through SLU's community partners, for course credit.
At SLU, character is valued in the classroom and in every part of campus life.
Character on Campus
The University is home to the largest chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity in the nation, per capita. SLU's Make a Difference Day is one of the largest fall service events in the country, and the campus Relay for Life has raised more than $1.5 million for cancer research since 2004.
In fact, SLU is consistently named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
The University was the first location for Campus Kitchens, now in place at two dozen schools nationwide, and is the birthplace of Casa de Salud, a clinic providing immigrants with health care in the heart of St. Louis.
Students can sign up for the two-day Urban Plunge retreat, focused on the realities affecting the poor and marginalized in the City of St. Louis, or commit to a year of service.
Spring breaks can be - and are - spent on SLU mission trips abroad and to locations in need closer to home, such as the Navajo Nation in Arizona or the Appalachia region.
Building Values (and Memories)
In addition to being noted for its volunteer work, SLU has also been recognized as a character-building college by The Templeton Guide.
More than 30 Jesuit priests live and teach on campus. Campus ministers are active in residence halls, and a cornerstone of the SLU student experience is 9 p.m. Mass at St. Francis Xavier College Church.
While some students arrive at SLU to study the sciences and others the arts, each leaves with an emphasis in integrity. Here, students are dedicated to a higher purpose and a greater good.
About "Higher Purpose. Greater Good." These words embody the Jesuits' nearly 500-year history of service for the greater glory of God and represent SLU's mission to pursue truth and serve humanity. In a substantial way, the phrase "Higher Purpose. Greater Good." touches on all the things that make SLU special - outstanding academics, faith, service and history. Learn more.