To more visibly embed St. John's mission into the educational experience of its students, the University established the Vincentian Institute for Social Action (VISA). The Institute provides an organizational focus for a variety of programs where faculty and students can explore issues of poverty and social injustice.
As a Catholic and Vincentian institution, St. John's seeks to provide a distinctive values-based education. With this in mind, the Institute fosters the development of a worldview that recognizes the importance of global interdependence. In addition, it encourages collaboration throughout the University in activities designed to advance its commitment to systemic change. Through various programs and events, students have the opportunity to enhance their studies with skill-building experiences in the community. In addition, faculty members are able to pursue research at local agencies or guide students as research mentors.
The Vincentian Institute is comprised of four interrelated units: Academic Service-Learning, Community Partnerships, the Faculty Research Consortium and the Ozanam Scholars Program. All programs are guided by the themes of homelessness, hunger, healthcare and education.