What is Service at SAU?


Service is at the core of being an Ambrosian. It is important to St. Ambrose University, as part of our mission and our identity as a Catholic, diocesan university which is grounded in Catholic Social Teaching.

Service occurs in multiple forms at St. Ambrose University. Service and Service-Learning opportunities give students, faculty and staff multiple ways to give back and connect the university to our local community.

Definition of Service
Service is often thought of as simply performing good works or deeds, especially for those who are in need. While this is important, service for a Catholic university means more than an occasional trip or project. At St. Ambrose University, students are encouraged to develop their lives into lives dedicated to service and concern for justice.  Catholic Social Teaching shows us that God has a special concern for the poor and those in need, and that we are called to show concern for those in need just as God does. Thus all Ambrosians are called to develop lives dedicated to the good of others, especially those who are in need. Service at St. Ambrose University is more than just something we do; it is part of who we are.

Service is a core value at St. Ambrose University, and students are presented many opportunities to grow and develop a life of service through various activities: local service projects, service trips over breaks to various locations, volunteering with a wide variety of community organizations, and many more. Forming a firm foundation of moral values within our students - so they may live out lives dedicated to service for others and for the world - is an integral part of the SAU experience.

To learn more about service opportunities at St. Amborse University, contact Kaitlin Depuydt.

Definition of Service Learning
Service Learning is a specific type of experiential learning that provides students opportunities to use the skills and knowledge they acquire in the classroom in real-life settings while contributing to relevant community needs and issues.

Students who engage in service learning as part of their academic career develop their ability to apply academic theories and concepts to real-world contexts, tackle complex issues from multiple perspectives, and reflect on their role in their local communities and beyond.

Community agencies looking for partnerships with faculty should contact Dr. Mara Adams.

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Making a Difference

students cleaning

Our students typically give more than 100,000 service hours each year to volunteer projects here and across the world.

Community Involvement


Grounded in Faith

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."
-Matthew 25: 35-36

Service at St. Ambrose University is grounded in the richness of the Catholic faith. In the life and model of Jesus Christ, we work to serve others because he served. We learn from the tradition and history of the Catholic Church, which inspires us to serve others and to work for justice in our world. The Catholic Social Tradition forms our service in light of our faith, and provides us with principles and teaching to help guide us to make a difference in the lives of others and in our world.

Service, in this regard, is not separated from the faith life of the community. Rather, it blossoms and finds new life and meaning because of it. As we find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren" (no. 1397). Service is a part of what makes up a life of Catholic faith, and here at St. Ambrose University, our service comes from our Catholic faith and shapes our commitment to the poor and those who are in need.

We serve because we take the values and lessons of our faith to heart, and because we listen to the history and tradition of our Church and continue to carry out the Gospel message today. We serve those in need because in Scripture and in our lives we find a God who is concerned with the poor, the needy, the lost, and all those who are forgotten. We serve others and our world because we recognize the beauty, grace, and value in all that God has made. We serve because we believe.

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 50 programs and 26 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!