Common Good Initiative

The Common Good Initiative (CGI) is a multi-disciplinary, immersion course in social justice. It enables graduate and professional students from across the university to integrate social justice considerations into their personal and disciplinary interests. By engaging the complexities of social injustice with the principles and practices of the Catholic social tradition, students learn from communities that struggle to create structural responses to varied aspects of poverty, including industrial decline, global health, political instability, and the migration of peoples. Sites have included Haiti, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, New Orleans, El Paso-Ciudad Juarez, and Detroit.

Grounded in the engagement practices of the Catholic social tradition, CGI is premised on two convictions: 1) that scholarly inquiry at the graduate level should be animated by a concern for the common good and a preferential option for the poor; and 2) that building a just world is dependent on a holistic approach to learning that includes considerations of religious faith as much as multidisciplinary conversation. 

Alongside a week-long immersion, CGI coursework includes preparatory and integration sessions that provide students with background knowledge, tools of social analysis, and opportunities for critical and theological reflection. Immersion participants receive one or two graduate-level CSC/theology academic credits.

All graduate and professional students are welcome to apply. Applicants must also be available for CGI on-campus coursework during the spring or fall semesters (Friday mornings), depending on the course. Immersions take place during semester breaks. Apart from a modest participation fee ($250 or $300, depending on site), the Common Good Initiative is fully-funded, covering the complete cost of room and board, travel, and tuition.

FALL 2017

CGI-UGANDA: Women, the Church, and the Ecology of the Common Good 

Two credit | Interdisciplinary | Fully funded*

Women bear the brunt of climate change in Central Africa; does the Church offer them any recourse? CGI-Uganda is a graduate student-only social justice course that explores the Catholic social teaching principle of the common good from an ecological approach. It's immersion in Uganda will begin to enable students to understand the role that women and the Church share in modern Africa to bring about the ecological conversion called for in the papal encyclical Laudato Si’. While on immersion in Uganda, students will meet with diverse groups, including church-based ministries. The twofold course objective is to surface what meanings of the common good underlie these efforts among women and the Church in Africa, and to formulate personal, disciplinary, and structural responses to ecological crises, including their manifestation in forms of poverty as traditionally understood. This course requires travel to Uganda over the fall break 2017. 

The application for fall 2017 is now closed.