About the Semester of Service program

Semester of Service is a program in the Fitz Center for Leadership that offers students an in-depth semester long service experience with an opportunity to strengthen the Dayton community, build supportive relationships, and accomplish goals while discerning future paths of service and civic engagement. Semester of Service students also participate in a weekly 3-hour social justice community service internship mini-course (UDI 393) and have the opportunity to develop a coordinating independent study project if desired.

In choosing to take a semester away from classes, students participate in 450 hours of service in Dayton non-profit community centers, after school programs, and organizations addressing homelessness issues. While serving full-time (37-40 hours a week), students participate in a three hour mini-course each week addressing social justice issues that are encountered while serving in the Dayton community. Recruitment for the program occurs during the term prior to a student's full-time Semester of Service.

To apply, email completed applications to The application form can be downloaded from the Apply Now link below.

Contact Information:

Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

Apply Now >

Our history. Our mission.


Semester of Service began in January 2002 as a joint effort between the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community and Campus Ministry. The program builds on community contacts and experiences gained during the seven years the University of Dayton administered the SWEAT (Serve With Energy and Talent) AmeriCorps Program and Campus Ministry's Summer of Service Program.


The mission of Semester of Service is to expand the worldview of participants while empowering them to become advocates for social change. Through experiential education, intentional community, and support from local agencies, the Semester of Service program provides students a unique atmosphere for learning and reflecting while serving in the community.

Program benefits.

As a Semester of Service student participant, you will receive a stipend that will pay for housing costs + $1,000 for other living expenses. You are registered as a full-time student but do not pay tuition. You are still able to live on campus and use the RecPlex. Benefits include:

  • A stipend to cover housing costs and provide $1,000 for other living expenses
  • Ability to continue living in student housing during the course of Semester of Service
  • Earn three mini-course credits for the service-learning course that accompanies the direct service
  • Work full-time at a social service agency in Dayton
  • Gain new skills and experience to improve resume
  • Ability to explore career paths prior to graduation
  • Meet other students with similar interests
  • Participate in meaningful work, with fun people
  • Intentional community living during the summer program
  • Opportunity for additional 3-6 internship/independent study credits with the social science departments

When is the program offered?

Semester of Service is offered each semester of the school year – fall, spring, and summer, and coincides with the UD academic year.  Summer students live together in community, while fall and spring students live in traditional UD housing. Summer dates: May 12-August 6; Fall dates: August 18-December 15.

Service locations:

Adventure Central

An after school outdoor science and environmental education. Program Website >>

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley

(Summer only)

An organization with a mission to strengthen individuals and families through actions of faith, service, and charity. Organization Website >>

Dakota Center

Providing after school homework, computer, art, and recreation activities. Organization Website >>


Providing housing, life skills, and support for teenagers and older youth transitioning to adulthood. Organization Website >>

East End Community Services

Youth are supported through community-based education, art, interactive experiences. This program is linked with Ruskin PK-8 school. Organization website >>

Dayton Christian Center

This is an early childhood program for care of infants, toddlers, and school age children. (Summers only.) Organization website >>


This program provides tutoring, book clubs, and mentoring support for school age and middle and high school age students. (Summers only.) Organization website >>


This program strives to build supportive relationships with homeless families seeking stability through resources, community services, and stable housing. Organization website >>

We Care Arts!

This program builds supportive relationships to engage with special needs adults in art activities in a community-based setting. (Summers only.) Organization website >>

Find Us.

Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

St. Joseph Hall 433 
300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1445