What is the purpose of a SOFE?

MNM 6770, Service Oriented Field Experience (SOFE), is an experiential learning capstone course within the Master of Nonprofit Management program. The SOFE course exposes students to the unique cultural and civil society (nonprofit) sector that exists in a chosen destination. During a SOFE students explore the issues of social justice firsthand through research, study and travel to their chosen destination and participating in activities such as NGO visits and dialogue with civil society leaders.

What are the academic goals for a SOFE?

At the end of this course, students:

  • Begin the process of self-discovery and internal recognition with regard to acculturated ideologies, beliefs, and perceptions about poverty and development.
  • Increase their understanding of social justice concerns in light of culture, poverty and community development.
  • Appreciate their chosen destination’s civil society/nonprofit community and develop an understanding of the issues of culture and poverty and their intersection in community development.
  • Share skills and expertise through a quality graduate level paper that could benefit a local NGO. Students develop their papers with specific partner organizations to demonstrate their understanding of service.

How is a SOFE different than volunteering/mission type trips?

A SOFE is the intersection between classroom work and community work. The work done on a SOFE informs your learning in the classroom, and you will take skills and ideas that you learn in the classroom with you as you work in the community. The learning during a SOFE is meaningful and deliberate through reflective thinking. In contrast, volunteering can be meaningful as well but is not usually connected to course material and can be more sporadic.

Will there be any pre-course work before the trip?

The SOFE is an 8-week course with specific course objectives. Pre-course work will be required as part of the class. The syllabus and the online course shell will communicate readings and assignments. Details for due dates, discussions and other requirements will be available upon the start of the course.


How do I register?

Registration for SOFE is similar to registration for any other course. Register by accessing WebAdvisor at and enrolling in the SOFE course. Course numbers for SOFEs are as follow:

  • Navajo: MNM 677F
  • East Africa: MNM 677E
  • Denver: MNM 677M
  • Peru: MNM 677P

How are you accepted to go on a SOFE?

There is no application process for SOFE trips. Students register for the SOFE as they would any other class.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Students must have completed 30 credit hours to be eligible to enroll in a SOFE. Part of the 30 units must be 651 – Research Methods for Nonprofit Organizations.

Is a SOFE required for MNM students?

No. MNM students have two capstone options – SOFE or MNM 697 – Professional Project.

What is a typical size of a SOFE trip?

The average number is between 10-12 students.

Who leads the SOFE trips?

MNM faculty members lead SOFE trips, and there are two facilitators for each trip.

Are there pre-meetings before the SOFE trip?

Yes, there are two pre-meetings before the SOFE trip. One meeting is scheduled two months before the trip and the other a month before. Students are briefed on the logistics of the trip and course details. Distance students can call in and are not required to be physically present at the meetings.

Are there post-SOFE meetings?

Yes. Often students arrange a post-SOFE reunion trip. These meetings are student-led and not mandatory.


How much does a SOFE trip costs?

The cost of the SOFE is made up of three parts:
  • Tuition per credit hour for an online course
  • Travel Expenses to/from your home location
  • In-Destination Cost. In-destination fees cover the majority of your expenses while participating in a SOFE. Common expenses covered are housing, food, transportation, speaker fees, tour fees, etc. The in-destination fee is dependent on the SOFE location. Please see the location-specific page for specific pricing.

How do I pay for SOFEs?

Students pay SOFE expenses in the following ways:
  • In-Destination Fee – Students will make payment directly to the MNM department. Checks, debit and credit card payments are accepted.
  • Travel Expenses to/from your home location – Students are responsible for arranging and paying for travel expenses independently. Faculty will provide students with a suggested travel agent.
  • Tuition per credit hour for an online course – This amount can be paid by accessing WedAdvisor.

Where do SOFEs go?

East Africa and Denver.

When do SOFEs go?

SOFE trips occur once a semester, usually in the 8W2 terms. However, faculty has the final say on specific dates of travel.

The current SOFE schedule is as follows:

Spring 2014: Navajo Nation

Summer 2014: Denver

Fall 2014: East Africa

Spring 2015: Navajo Nation

Summer 2015: Denver

Fall 2015: Peru

Spring 2016: Navajo Nation


Do I need a passport?

You will need a passport if you participate in an international SOFE. If you don’t have a  passport, obtain one by picking up the forms at certain branches of the U.S. Post Office or go online to Passports typically take six weeks to process.

Will I need a visa?

Students participating in the East Africa SOFE will need a visa. Trip facilitators will provide more information regarding this after students enroll in the course.

How do I book my flight?

Students are responsible for arranging their travel arrangements independently. Faculty will provide students with a suggested travel agent.

Can I use frequent flyer miles for my ticket?

Yes, you may use frequent flyer miles towards your flight ticket. Please consult your travel agent as you make travel arrangements for your SOFE trip.

What do I do once I arrive at the airport?

Transportation from the SOFE destination airport to the hotel will be provided. Trip facilitators will send students detailed information regarding this prior to the trip.

Can I get to the destination earlier and/or can I stay after the class trip?

Students are free to travel to the destination earlier and or stay after the official class trip dates. These are personal arrangements and are not be covered by the department. Airport pickup and accommodations are only available during the designated course dates. Either way, you need to plan to be at the designated meeting place for the start of the course trip and stay until the last meeting.

Health & Insurance

What type of insurance do I need?

Personal health insurance is required to participate in all SOFEs. If you do not have health insurance, contact the department for suggestions.

For international SOFEs, additional emergency insurance will be purchased on your behalf. Please see the link below for details of coverage.

What immunizations do I need?

Because we are not medical professionals and immunizations vary by country, we recommend that you visit the CDC website for country-specific information.

If I get sick on the trip are there medical facilities there to treat me?

Yes. Trip facilitators carry a list of emergency contact numbers and medical facilities in the area compiled with the help of HTH insurance and local contacts. The facilities will provide students with medical treatment similar to services received in the United States.

Are there emergency contact numbers?

Yes, a list of emergency contact numbers will be provided to you prior to your trip.

During the trip

How much money do I bring?

Most expenses students incur on a trip are covered in the in-destination cost fee paid to the department. Therefore, the money students bring on a trip is dependent on their personal shopping. Students must be aware that some destinations such as Peru and East Africa may not accept debit or credit cards, so bringing cash is advisable. Students are advised to bring cash printed after 2006 to get the best exchange rate and to withdraw money in $20 and $50 notes.

Each time you withdraw cash from any given ATM abroad, do your best to maximize the amount withdrawn. You can expect fees from both angles: the foreign bank and its ATM at your home bank for using a foreign ATM. Minimizing the times you go to an ATM will shrink the number of per-withdrawal fees.

Students are advised not to carry a large amount of cash on them all the time and to split the places they store their money. Most hotels will have a safe deposit box as well.

Is the water safe to drink?

Students who participate in the international SOFE trips to East Africa and Peru must not drink the water as it may be unsafe. Bottled water is safe to drink and will be provided by trip facilitators as part of the in-destination cost fee. When buying bottles of water, make sure seals have not been tampered with. If the local tap water is deemed unsafe to drink, use bottled water for brushing teeth.

What will we eat?

To benefit from the cultural immersion experience, students experience the local and cultural food of the country they are visiting. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

Where will we stay?

For the Navajo, Peru and East Africa SOFE trips, students stay in hotels. Double occupancy and gender specific rooms are booked for students.

For Denver SOFEs, students will stay on Regis’s campus at the dorms in double occupancy, gender specific rooms.

Please see the links below to hotel that SOFEs have stayed at in the past:


East Africa:


Comfort Inn & Suites, 455 S. Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO

Best Western, 100 Main Street, Chinle, AZ  86503

Quality Inn Navajo Nation Capital, 48 West Highway 264, Window Rock, AZ  86515

Comfort Inn, 555 Scott Ave., Farmington, NM  87401

How do we travel once we arrive in country?

When traveling to another country, students should be mindful of their host country’s culture and traditions. Students are asked to wear modest clothing and keep in mind their image reflects their home country and university.

What do we wear/pack?

When traveling to another country, students are asked to be mindful of their host country’s culture and traditions. Students are asked to wear modest clothing and to keep in mind that their image reflects their home country and university.

Link to packing list:


Are there opportunities to go sightseeing?

Yes, famous historical and cultural sites are often a part of the SOFE itinerary. Students can visit sights not included in the itinerary on their own time.

Will there be opportunities to buy souvenirs?

Yes, there will be opportunities to buy souvenirs.


For international SOFEs, will I be able to call home?

Yes. Specific calling information is provided by faculty during orientation meetings. Faculty provide students with overseas calling information. Faculty also carry an international phone that can be used for ou

For international SOFEs, would I need to know the native language of the country I visit?

No, you do not need to know the native language of the host country. Translators are available during the SOFE trip and faculty accompanying students on the trip most likely speak the local language as well.

For international SOFES do I need an electric convertor?

Yes, students need an electric convertor and outlet prong adaptor.

What are the restroom facilities like?

Be forewarned: in some places "western" toilets may not be available. Restrooms with indoor plumbing are available at the hotels where students stay but may not be available at sites students visit.

Will there be laundry service?

Laundry service will most likely be available. Ask your faculty for more information.