Program Details for Students | University of Portland

Program Details for Students

If you're interested in participating in an immersion, first read the Moreau Center Core Commitments to understand what our programs are all about. The below description will give you a sense of what the immersion process looks like from first being selected to participate through returning from your immersion experience.

The Immersion Process


  • After applying and being selected for an immersion trip you will participate in the pre-immersion preparation process. Immersion participants will join two preparation seminars in the fall semester (Fridays 4-6pm). Spring break and summer immersions will have two spring semester prep seminars, as well (Fridays 4-6pm). Additional meetings and group bonding activities will be planned by student leaders. These are intended for team building, sharing of important logistic information, and reflection on themes that will be deepened through the immersion itself. Immersion participants commit to attending all pre-immersion seminars and meetings. We understand that conflicts may arise; participants should communicate any conflicts with their student leader as soon as possible and determine how they will make up any missed seminars or meetings.

On Immersion

  • On your immersion, you will be accompanied by two student Immersion Coordinators and two University of Portland staff/faculty accompaniers, usually including one Moreau Center for Service and Justice staff. The student coordinators and Moreau Center Program Manager for Immersions will take care of the logistics for the immersion in collaboration with community partners. During the immersion, we are guests and visitors of our community partners; openness and flexibility are essential. While immersions vary in terms of activities, each will include opportunities to engage with the local community and learn about the critical issues impacting its members. We endeavor to learn the historical context of the social justice focus of the immersion as well as the strengths and solutions proposed by the community. You will also connect with the other immersion participants and share in reflection about the impact of the experience.
  • Immersions are planned with simplicity in mind, and students should expect to be flexible and adaptable to new experiences. Housing will usually be shared spaces amongst the group in locations like cabins, school gyms and churches. On most immersions, meals will be prepared by the participants and served buffet style. Most dietary needs can be accommodated. Immersions generally include time spent walking and standing as we explore neighborhoods and sometimes farms, gardens, or other off sidewalk locations. Some international destinations may not meet the ADA standards we have in the United States. We are eager to work with students and provide information so they can feel confident to participate in the immersion experience. Please reach out to us with questions and accommodation needs.If you have disability related access needs, please reach out to Accessible Education Services at For immersion specific questions, please reach out to Erin Savoia in the Moreau Center for Service and Justice at

Reentry and What’s Next or Integration

  • While the actual immersion trip has a start and end date, the full experience is a journey that is never truly over. More than an end goal, we believe that the immersion itself is a starting point for ongoing reflection and critical engagement of the realities of our local and global community. For this reason, participants commit to meeting at least once upon return from the trip to continue processing, sharing stories, and determining next steps toward connecting the immersion experience to life at the University of Portland and beyond. Your Immersion Coordinators, Immersion accompaniers, and other Moreau Center staff members are here as a resource to assist as you draw meaning from the immersion experience and explore ways to integrate it into your personal and academic life.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 are usually due at the end of September. Applications for Winter Break, Spring Break and Summer immersions are usually due in October. Applicants will complete the application on Qualtrics.  

Immersions 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).

Can I go on an immersion with my friend?   

Our immersions are community-oriented from our first gathering through our return to campus and beyond. 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 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 fall break immersions have one 2.5 hour seminar and may have one additional meeting before the immersion.

The Urban Immersion will participate in at least two 2-hour group seminars, as well as possible additional educational seminars and group bonding opportunities that relate specifically to the Urban Immersion.

 The spring break and summer immersions will all have four 2-hour group seminars. Each immersion will have approximately 1-5 additional group meetings, bonding activities and/or service opportunities as an additional part of their preparation. These immersions will also have some fundraising requirements such as assisting with an auction, helping clean up the Chiles Center or conducting a used bike sale.

 Each immersion will also be strongly encouraged to have at least one post-immersion activity. This could be a service outing, educational presentation, reunion meal or other ideas the group can come up with.

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 through participant fees and fundraisers. Financial assistance is available through a short application and we encourage students to utilize this assistance. 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 that will take place during the 2023-24 school year.

Urban Immersion: $70

Rural Immersion: $150

Environmental Justice: $250 (+ fundraising)

Border Immersion: $900 (+ fundraising)

Civil Rights Immersion: $1200 (+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 Erin Savoia, Program Manager for Immersions at


Students on the North Portland Immersion, in a greenhouse at a local farm

Above photo: Participants on the North Portland Civil Rights Immersion meet with farmers from Mudbone Grown


Above photo: Participants on the Civil Rights Immersion cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama