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The Clavius Project at SLUH Announces New Partnership with Saint Louis University

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Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

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ST. LOUIS – The Clavius Project announced a new partnership with Saint Louis University (SLU) made possible by a $612,000 grant from the Thomas R. Schilli Foundation (TRSF) to Saint Louis University. The grant will bring robotics and STEM enrichment programming into underserved schools across St. Louis through a partnership with SLU and its Ignatian Service Minor. 

Clavius Jamboree

The 8th annual Clavius Project Robotics Jamboree was held April 30 at St. Louis University High (SLUH). Submitted photo.

The announcement was made on April 30 at St. Louis University High (SLUH) at the 8th Annual Clavius Project Robotics Jamboree, which included students from 28 schools throughout the region.

The new partnership will greatly enhance the Clavius Project, bringing additional resources, STEM programming, and tutoring into underserved middle schools. SLU students participating in the Ignatian Service Learning minor that will launch in Fall 2022 will contribute weekly volunteer service hours to implement the Clavius Project in schools.

“Clavius was created by students for students and has provided a diverse set of students exposure to robotics, coding, and STEM programming,” said Jeff Pitts, volunteer director of The Clavius Project and former Anheuser-Busch engineer. “This partnership and grant will sustain the program and provide opportunities to so many more students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them.”

Started at SLUH in 2014, the Clavius Project is a collaboration between students, faculty, and staff to bring STEM education to urban St. Louis middle and elementary schools. Through the afterschool Clavius Project, middle school students learn robotics, coding, and 3D printing. At the Jamboree, students showcased their capstone robotics project and participated in robotics skills competitions at SLUH.

“A group of SLUH students started the Clavius Project as a way to serve fellow students in the St. Louis community,” said Alan Carruthers, President of SLUH. “It’s very exciting to see what started as a grassroots program blossom and provide more STEM exposure opportunities to a broad spectrum of students in our region.”

The Ignatian Service Minor is a new cross-disciplinary minor that SLU will offer students starting in the fall semester of 2022. The service minor will focus on project-based, service-learning that challenges students to help support underserved areas in their community while fostering a lifelong commitment to service. As many as 300 SLU students will participate in the fall.

“Service is central to SLU’s mission,” said Randall Rosenberg, Ph.D., dean of SLU’s College of Philosophy and Letters and the administrator of the TRSF grant. “The Ignatian Service Minor is born out of students’ desire to serve their community by enacting the Jesuit mission. The grant from the Schilli Foundation will provide incredible learning opportunities for both SLU students and underserved students in our region.”

Ten middle schools that serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds will participate in the pilot year. Each school has participated in Clavius programming in the past and will receive additional resources and volunteer capacity.

“Over the past eight years, the Clavius Project has provided an incredible enrichment opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Eric Clark, president of Loyola Academy, one of the schools participating in the pilot. “This grant and partnership with SLU will expand the opportunities our students have access to.”

St. Louis University High School, founded in 1818, is a private, Jesuit secondary educational institution located in the city of St. Louis. The school provides need-blind admission and a premier education infused with the five-century-old tradition and philosophy of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus.

The Thomas R. Schilli Foundation was founded in 2021 to support local Jesuit schools and their partners in providing collaborative, integrated, and coordinated educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in the St. Louis region.

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.