Faith, service and justice—these three words are the foundation of Villanova’s Service Council, a student organization run through Campus Ministry that largely focuses on forming leadership skills and fostering in-depth discussions through different meetings, events and activities.
Service Council is composed of about 30 students and anyone can apply to become a member.
Jessica Eby, a junior biology and French major and the head chair of Villanova Service Council, explains what Service Council is about.
The Service Council is run by a group of student chairs who plan and lead five theme-oriented meetings a semester.
The themes of these meetings range from spiritual topics, such as prophetic call and conflicts, to social justice topics regarding race, power and privilege.
“Service Council meetings, occurring every other Friday, are like mini-retreats where students can come together to talk about the dynamics of faith, service and justice with reference to specific topics,” Eby says. Meetings are made up of many different components.
Speakers are invited to the meetings to discuss a particular topic and provide insight based on personal experience.
This past fall, an activist came to Service Council to discuss his experience with the Occupy Wall Street movement for the “concrete action and social change” meeting.
The meetings also include a leadership activity, spirituality reflection, advocacy issue and social justice hero who is decided upon by small Council member groups called pods.
The meetings allow for group discussions, reflections and personal insights.
Another important component that adds to the community feel of Service Council is the meal that the group shares every meeting.
One group will cook a vegetarian friendly meal and they present it after the meetings are over as a closing to their time together.
The student chairs believe that some of the best conversations typically happen around the dinner table, so they try to bring that aspect to Service Council through this meal.
Eby has been involved in Service Council since second semester of her freshman year and could not be happier with her decision to be a part of the Service Council community.
Holding a leadership position as spirituality chair her sophomore year and now serving as head chair, Eby has had the opportunity to take on many roles and responsibilities in Service Council.
“I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that Service Council has been one of the greatest influences on my personal and spiritual development during my time here at Villanova,” Eby says.
The appreciation Jessica feels for Service Council for expanding her knowledge and perspectives on many issues is evident.
Some of the discussions she has been involved with include the lives of social justice movers Che Giver, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day and Wendell Berry and worldwide movements such as the Green Belt movement and the Arab Spring.
“In a word, Service Council has been instrumental in shaping my worldview,” she says.
Aside from the meetings, Service Council hosts different outreach and advocacy activities each semester.
This spring Service Council will be leading SuperFresh food drive as their advocacy event and their main event, Advocacy Week.
Advocacy is a main theme in Service Council which students to take action on an array of issues, whether it be through signing a petition or writing letters.
This year, Advocacy Week will take place on March 18-22 and is open to all Villanova students.
Service Council inspires individuals to get involved and take action as well as to discuss important issues and open their minds to topics outside the classroom.