If you're interested in participating in an immersion, first read the Moreau Center Core Commitments to understand what our programs are all about.
How do I apply for an immersion, and who gets selected?
Applications for our immersions are posted on our website at the start of the academic year. The applications for Fall Break immersions and summer immersions are usually due at the end of September. Applications for Winter and Spring Break immersions are usually due at the end of October. Applicants should email the completed Word document, answering the supplemental questions for the immersion(s) they are interested in, to the coordinators of those immersions.
The Urban Policy Immersion during Winter Break is traditionally first-come, first-served. All other immersions usually have a selection process, including an individual or group interview, conducted by the student coordinators. Participants are selected to achieve a balanced, diverse range of ages, interests, personalities, and experiences. Your background will not necessarily make you "more qualified" for an immersion, though we do seek participants who work and travel well with others and who will embrace the values of our programs (solidarity, social justice, community, reflection, etc.).
Can I go on an immersion with my friend?
Our immersions are community-oriented from the first fundraiser to the final drop-off back on campus. No special preference will be given to arrange for friends to participate in immersions together, as we've found that participants can experience immersions more fully and bond with the group more deeply when they are more open to building new relationships.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with knowing other people on your immersion beforehand, but one of the most rewarding aspects is coming home with a whole new group of friends! If you are selected to participate on the same immersion as a close friend, you will be encouraged to spend most of your time branching out to others in the group.
What is the time commitment for an immersion?
Each immersion has its own requirements. The commitment can be as low as two or three group meetings before/after the immersion (for Rural, Food Justice, or Urban). Collegiate Challenge traditionally has the next lowest time commitment, due to the minimal fundraising needed.
Border, Civil Rights, and Nicaragua Immersions will all have at least three Moreau Center seminars throughout the year on topics like Catholic social thought, solidarity, and values. These immersions will additionally host their own educational seminars to prepare participants for the specific issues that they will encounter during their immersions, as well as group meetings (sometimes weekly) for fundraising.
Civil Rights and Nicaragua Immersions have the greatest time commitment and begin meeting in the early fall. The Civil Rights Immersion requires participation in a specific course spring semester. Nicaragua has weekly two-hour meetings, along with fundraisers in the spring. Meetings are always mandatory (exceptions are made for fall study-abroad students).
How much does an immersion cost? How do I pay for it?
The Moreau Center works hard to create access to each of its programs for all University of Portland students. Immersion costs are paid for through participant fees and fundraisers. Financial assistance is available. We do our best so that cost does not present a barrier to participation.
The student fee is paid by making deposits throughout the year, and flexible payment plans can be established for those who need them.
Any fundraiser is conducted for the benefit of the group, reflecting the community oriented nature of our immersions; all participants are expected to share the workload regardless of personal financial situations.
Student Fees for Immersions
The student fee to participate in each immersion varies each year. This list reflects the fees for immersions taking place during the 2016-2017 school year.
Rural Immersion: $150
Urban Immersion: $60
Border Immersion: $800 (+ fundraising)
Collegiate Challenge: $175 (+ fundraising)
Nicaragua Immersion: $2,200 (+ fundraising)
Students will have the opportunity to request financial assistance at the time they apply for an immersion. Participants who wish to discuss payment options or have questions regarding financial assistance should schedule a meeting with Laurie Laird, Moreau Center director.
Are the immersions religious?
Applicants should know that the Moreau Center, in reflection of the mission of the University, approaches its programs from the standpoint of Catholic social thought. However, there is no requirement to identify with a specific religion to participate in any of our programs. In fact, we encourage open dialogue and aim to make people of all backgrounds feel welcome and accepted. The discussion of Catholic values and aspects of spiritual reflection will be present in most programs to facilitate each individual's own growth and reflection.