Student Life

The Sophomore Experience

The Sophomore Experience - Developing Empathy and Understanding Need

Overview: The Sophomore service experience is intended to further a student’s understanding of Christian charity and justice by providing him with experiences and opportunities to develop empathy through walking with and in the shoes of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. By doing so, students will gain a better understanding of the needs of suffering, empowering them to serve in more impactful and meaningful ways.

Objective: Building on the Freshman Service Experience, where students experienced rich encounters with underserved communities, the objective of the Sophomore Service Experience is to provide students with opportunities for leadership and social justice immersion. These experiences provide moments that spark empathy in their minds and hearts, guiding students in understanding the needs of the populations they serve. Indeed, it is by walking with and in the shoes of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized, that students will gain a better understanding of the needs of the suffering.

The Sophomore Service Experience provides Jesuit students the opportunity to:

  • Deepen relationships with members of underserved communities;
  • Demonstrate leadership characterized first by a priority for the poor and vulnerable;
  • Grow in empathy and understanding for all marginalized people;
  • Participate in relationship based service within communities of great need;
  • Partner with local organizations fighting poverty and injustice;
  • Examine the root causes of social injustice;
  • Analyze the effects of social injustices on individuals and groups;
  • Begin to reflect on the Christian calling to live in solidarity with all who experience injustice;

To complete the Sophomore Service Experience, students must participate in: 

  1. direct relationship-based service to the poor and marginalized
  2. integrated guidance and spiritual formation

Sophomore Direct Service Tracks:

Sophomores are able to choose from one of four tracks to complete their sophomore year service and justice formation requirement. 

1. Service Leadership Track (Completed during the fall and spring semesters)

Students wishing to complete their formation requirement on the Service Leadership Track may apply to one of four service leadership organizations, each with a different service learning focus. Sophomores who maintain membership in a service leadership organization are eligible to apply to attend the annual Ignatian Teach-In (Social Justice Conference) in Washington D.C. (November)

2 Social Justice Immersion Track (Summer and School Year Opportunities) The Social Justice Immersion Track provides students focused opportunities both domestically and internationally to grow in their understanding for individuals living on the margins of society. By walking in the shoes of others, students are able to deepen their sense of empathy for the poor and marginalized, the foundation for manifesting a faith that results in justice. 

NOTE: All students are eligible to apply for participation in one or more of Jesuit’s Social Justice Immersion experiences regardless of their chosen service track. 

  1. Urban Plunge (June)
  2. International Immersion (Guatemala, Mexico)
  3. Domestic Immersion (Waco Poverty Immersion)
  4. Summer Intensive (Each summer intensive requires a minimum full week commitment)
    1. I Can Swim
    2. I Can Bike
    3. HEROES Academy
    4. Sisters of Charity Day Camp

3. 4 & 4 Independant Service Track (Opportunities beginning each June) The most flexible service track for sophomores, the 4 & 4 requires students to complete 8 service events throughout the year (recommendation is 4 Jesuit sponsored service events during the summer or fall semester and 4 Jesuit sponsored service events in the spring). Event offerings include opportunities from a broad spectrum of service sectors represented in the Jesuit service experience: 

  • Austin Street Center Game Night (Sundays during school holidays)
  • Escuelita After School Program (Daily during fall and spring semesters)
  • Johnson’s Outpost Summer Sports Program (Daily throughout the summer)
  • Lee McShan Elementary Saturday School (Saturdays, beginning spring semester)
  • Manna for Others Lewisville (Saturdays during school holidays)
  • Obadiah Knight Saturday School* (Saturdays during fall and spring semesters)
  • Rays of Light - Night Lights (Friday nights during fall and spring semesters)
  • Saint Nicholas House (Twice monthly, fall and spring semesters)
  • Sierra Vista Activity Days (Fridays throughout the summer)
  • The Traditions (Sundays during the fall and spring semesters)

* Bilingual service opportunity

Students completing service on the 4 X 4 Track will attend empathy workshop formation meetings twice a semester.

4. Approved Service Project/Experience In some cases students may be engaged (through their family or parish community) in service that reflects the goals and outcomes for the sophomore year experience. In such instances, students may present a proposal to the Office of Service & Justice, requesting that their involvement in those activities serve as fulfillment of their sophomore year direct service requirement. In order for proposals to be considered for approval, the service must reflect Jesuit’s service priorities (direct service with the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized) and provide a sustained opportunity to develop relationships which lead to a deeper sense of empathy for those who experience systemic injustice.