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Campus Diversity Initiatives And Programs

The issue of diversity has taken on a greater and more prominent role at Fairfield University and in higher education across America. Diversity in all its human forms and varieties, along with the Jesuit mission and identity, is a basic tenet which under girds all three prongs of Fairfield University's Strategic Plan.

Fairfield University maintains and implements the following initiatives:

Academic Immersion

The Academic Immersion Program is designed to assist students with their transition to college. There is a particular emphasis on the academic adjustments a student must continually make between high school and his or her first two years in college. The Academic Immersion program has two components. The first is a four-week summer program during which selected students complete two core courses - one visual and performing arts (AH 12) and a natural science (BI 76), earning six credits during the summer.

Ally Network

The Ally Network serves as a campus-wide resource to students who are in need of support. Upon completion of the training workshop, allies receive a Safe Space placard distinguishing them as part of the network. This placard is a symbol that the person will be understanding, supportive, and trustworthy if a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer student needs help, advice, or just someone with whom they can talk. The person displaying the symbol is also a person who can give anyone accurate information about sexual orientation issues.

Bennett Center for Judaic Studies

The Bennett Center for Judaic Studies was founded in 1994 with an initial endowment from Carl and Dorothy Bennett of Greenwich, Conn. Its goal is to enrich the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual life of the University through lectures, programs, and other special events; enhancement of the University library's Judaic collection; monthly Shabbat services and dinners (co-sponsored with Campus Ministry), and ongoing support of the College of Arts and Sciences' undergraduate interdisciplinary program in Judaic Studies. Bennett Center events are open to the University and greater Bridgeport/Fairfield communities.

Center for Social Impact

Grounded in Fairfield University's Jesuit, Catholic mission to share its intellectual resources for the betterment of the community and to educate students to be socially and morally responsible, the Center for Social Impact connects community and campus to create high impact academic opportunities that address local, national, and global challenges and develop individuals committed to creating a more just and equitable world.

Community Partnership Programs

Community partners play a vital role in supporting student learning through participation in service and civic engagement. Fairfield University strives to continually strengthen our relationships with community organizations and to work toward establishing mutually beneficial partnerships. Community partners benefit from the skills, compassion, and commitment of our students, faculty, and staff who, in turn, benefit from the experience and expertise of the community.

Community Service Programs

Campus Ministry oversees several community service programs, such as After-School Programs, Fairfield Volunteer Corps, Animal Welfare, Daycare, Mentoring, Hunger Cleanup, Soup Kitchens Food Pantries, and Special Needs. To volunteer, please contact Katie Byrnes (, Campus Minister for Social Justice and Community Engagement.

Office of Accessibility

Fairfield University is committed to providing qualified students who have disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits, rights, and privileges of its services, programs, and activities in an accessible setting. Furthermore, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Connecticut state laws, we provide accommodations to reduce the impact of their disabilities on academic functioning or upon other major life activities. These legal requirements are in keeping with our Jesuit mission and policy of non-discrimination.

The Office of Accessibility is responsible for evaluating and coordinating appropriate auxiliary aids and services for students with disabilities in an effort to ensure their full participation in all University activities, programs, and services. DSS interacts with students with disabilities in the determination and facilitation of individualized accessibility plans each semester. We also serve as a liaison between students, faculty, and staff.

Diversity Campus Climate Assessment

The PIDC developed a three-year schedule for the assessment of campus climate. It is noteworthy that in this cycle, the first full report on the campus climate as it relates to diversity will be completed in 2017, the year which corresponds to the University’s 75th Anniversary and next scheduled NEASC site-visit. Having a comprehensive campus climate report to mark both those occasions will be timely.

Fairfield United

Fairfield United is a consortium of different cultural and affinity clubs that strives to increase communication and collaboration among cultural and/or identity-based student organizations and other student organizations at the University: Alliance; Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons; S.I.S.: Sisters Inspiring Sisters; Umoja; the Afri­can-American and Caribbean Student Association; SALSA, the Spanish-American Latino Student Association; ASA, the Asian Student Association; Kadima, and the Muslim Stu­dent Association, which support the cultural and spiritual lives of Jewish and Muslim students, respectively. For more information, contact

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons

In our commitment to being men and women for others, we find it necessary to claim a space in which we can create and foster an all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities. This is a collective space for men and women to engage in an ongoing dialogue about the gender and sexuality injustices that occur on the campus and abroad. Such dialogue will contribute to mutual understanding and active service focused around these issues. We envision this environment will help foster growth in our community so that students of diverse genders and sexualities are distinguished as equals in academics, athletics, and social interactions.

Immigration: Undocumented Students in Higher Ed

A Study Funded by the Ford Foundation

In 2010, Fairfield University, Santa Clara University, and Loyola University Chicago launched a two-year study to understand legal and social context, attitudes and social current practices in Jesuit institutions of higher education in the United States regarding undocumented students. It is estimated that only 5-10% of the 65,000 undocumented students that graduate from an American high school each year are able to enter post-secondary education.

International Programs

Located on the second floor of Dolan House, the Office of International Programs administers Fairfield University's study abroad programs, international student and scholar services, and international student recruitment. We engage the Fairfield community with the world by bringing international students into our classrooms or offering academic programs abroad.

Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN)

The Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) was launched in 2008 through a joint collaboration between Georgetown, Fordham, and Fairfield Universities. The idea of JUHAN is that, in addressing the needs of those that are suffering, our academic institutions can be more effective when working together rather than independently. The founders had come to the realization that there is relatively little going on in U.S. higher education to prepare undergraduates for humanitarian action, whether that be career development or preparation to fulfill everyday civic responsibilities.

Lucy Katz Dialogue & Resolution Program

As part of The Lucy Katz Dialogue & Resolution Program, we train 28 students, faculty, and staff each year as a social justice mediators. As we continue to work towards creating a socially just community at Fairfield University and beyond, we invite students, faculty, or staff to consider receiving a certification in Social Justice Mediation. The hope is to continue growing a population of individuals at all levels of the University who, as trained mediators, can cultivate social justice awareness, resolve disputes and attend to social justice concerns (bias incidents, education, conflicts, etc.).

Muslim, Protestant and Jewish Chaplains

In an effort to attend to the spiritual needs of our non-Catholic students, Campus Ministry provides a host of services and collaborates with those beyond the Catholic and Jesuit tradition. Campus Ministry co-sponsors monthly Shabbat services and dinners. A Muslim chaplain-intern is available to provide support to our Muslim students, a Protestant chaplain is available to meet the needs of our Protestant students, and a Jewish chaplain is also available to meet the needs of our Jewish students. The Orthodox Christian Fellowship maintains a vibrant presence on campus.

Campus Ministry also makes every effort to enable non-Catholic students to connect with local faith communities from their tradition by providing transportation to and from local churches, synagogues, and mosques. Campus Ministry invites all students to come learn, grow, laugh, and pray as they explore their relationship with themselves, God, and their community.

Multicultural Visit Program

We welcome admitted students from traditionally underrepresented populations and students with a strong interest in diversity to spend a night on campus, meet current students, faculty and staff and become a stag for day.

Office of Service Learning

Service-learning is an experiential approach to teaching and learning that links academic study and community service so that each is strengthened and both are transformed. Critical reflection is an essential component as is the development of partnerships with the community that are based in mutuality and reciprocity. The Office of Service Learning (OSL) is committed to solidarity and collaboration with people who are marginalized. In addition to being mindful of "best practices" that have been developed in the academic service-learning movement nationally, our work flows from the Jesuit Catholic educational mission of Fairfield University that calls for the dynamic integration of academic excellence, social responsibility, and faith that promotes justice.

Poetry for Peace

Poetry for Peace is a cross-district poetry contest open to all Bridgeport and Fairfield K-8th grade students. The contest is sponsored annually by Fairfield University, with a call for submissions of poetry written in response to the question “What does peace mean to me?”

President's Institutional Diversity Council

The Diversity Council was appointed by President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. in 2005. The Council was organized to evaluate, review, and assess the institution's progress as it strengthens its multicultural education curricula and human diversity foundation and goals. The Council membership is drawn from all sectors of the University community. Each year President von Arx charges the Council with a topic to carefully consider and then submit recommendations and suggestions.

Safe Space Program

The Fairfield Safe Space Program creates a network of campus-based allies to support and confirm the dignity and self worth of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer students and their allies.

In accordance with Catholic social teaching, the human rights of all are paramount to the Jesuit university educational experience. Fairfield University is committed to providing safe spaces where individuals can engage in discussion, education, advocacy, and awareness about LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) issues. These spaces are free from discrimination, ignorance, bigotry, and harassment, and provide a safe and accepting environment for all members of the Fairfield University community regardless of sex, race, color, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin or ancestry, disability, or special needs.

For a list of workshop dates, please contact the Office of Student Diversity Programs at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2806 or send an e-mail to

Service for Justice Residential College

When we are at our best, we deeply appreciate the gifts of others and seek to serve those in need. The Service for Justice Residential College (S4J) located on the "Quad" in 70 McCormick Hall (2 person residential hall), is a community based on exploring questions of service, diversity and social justice. Through conversations, reflection and action of students, faculty, and mentors with one another, the hope of this community is to appreciate an historical context of and passion for social justice, understand diversity and all its manifestations, communicate with others about and across differences, and take action and become change agents. In this way, all are able to construct and discern their own living and learning experience. This community welcomes students of all interests, backgrounds, and perspectives. Three overarching questions guide our community:

Who am I?

Whose am I?

How am I called to serve justice?

Students for Social Justice

Students for Social Justice (S4SJ) is a dynamic, student-led group that aims to educate, advocate, and activate around issues of social justice, to be a voice for the voiceless, and to further enrich Fairfield's mission in the service of faith and the promotion of justice. Past activities have included a Darfur activism campaign, Congressional letter writing campaigns, a Fair-Trade Bazaar and Fashion Show, and the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Open to all classes, the group meets every Tuesday from 8 - 9 p.m. in Campus Ministry. All are welcome!

Student Diversity Programs

The Office of Student Diversity Programs seeks to develop and implement programs and services that will increase the engagement of students in activities that promote and foster an inclusive living and learning community. Students will obtain a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice through participation and celebration in a variety of activities.

The office works with student organizations, faculty, and other University offices to further integrate diversity into developmental and social programs for students. As a result, the office establishes meaningful relationships with students in order to effectively address their needs, interests, and concerns. Please contact Pejay Lucky ( for more information.

Upward Bound

Upward Bound is a federally funded program for college-bound high school students. The objective of the program is to develop academic, intellectual and social skills, needed for entrance to and graduation from college. All activities and services are provided at no cost to the students and their families.

Veteran Support

The University strives to create a welcoming and supportive environment for enrolled armed service veterans. The Office of Student Diversity Programs is able to direct student veterans to available resources on campus and assist veterans in connecting with the broader University community. For additional information, please contact Will Johnson.

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