When he inaugurated Santa Clara’s sesquicentennial year, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, noted that “Tomorrow’s ‘whole person’ cannot be whole without an educated awareness of society and culture with which to contribute socially, generously, in the real world.” Calling for a new Jesuit educational standard, “to educate the whole person of solidarity in the real world,” he explained: “Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering, and engage in it constructively. They should learn to perceive, think, judge, choose, and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed.”*
The Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) component of Santa Clara’s Core curriculum cultivates social justice, civic life, perspective, and civic engagement. To echo the words of Fr. Kolvenbach, ELSJ provides Santa Clara students with opportunities for experiencing the gritty reality of the world, thinking critically about the world, responding to its suffering, and engaging it constructively.
* Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American, Jesuit Higher Education,” address at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, October 6, 2000.