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Center for Social Concerns


Home > Academic Courses and Programs > Winter Seminars > Organizing, Power and Change

Social Concerns Seminar:

Organizing, Power and Hope

CSC 33965  / THEO 33965


This six-day winter seminar is an opportunity to experience the field of community organizing in action on the streets of Chicago:

> Learn from local church, school, not-for-profit leaders, and unions about community organizing initiatives to improve life in Chicago neighborhoods.

> Experience the hope, the disappointments, and the moments of grace in community organizing and social change work.

> Challenge your perceptions of power and powerlessness, service and action.

> Capture the Spirit found in building diverse relationships.

Participants are invited to experience this faith-based program, and to be open to developing new perspectives on the role of neighborhood churches and organizations responding to social needs. This seminar is intended for students with previous urban experience eager to sharpen their social analysis, and to learn new forms of ministry for adults committed to social justice.  

The six days will include conversations and social action with diverse leaders throughout Chicago's organizing community, working through local organizations devoted to overcome situations of injustice and poverty afflicting members of their constituencies. The evenings will be spent reflecting about these experiences at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Casimir in the Marquette Park community. Local members of the community may be invited for evening reflections. There will be a strong emphasis on spirituality and social analysis throughout the evening reflections, which may also include a celebration of the Eucharist. Each day there will be an opportunity to explore hope in Chicago neighborhoods that are often considered to be hopeless.

 Read about the seminar in the spring 2004 CSC News & Reflections.

Location: Chicago, IL

Date: Januart 2015 winter break, Dates TBD

Size: 10–12 students

Fee:  $180

This covers food, housing, and supplies, and will be assessed through student accounts during March or April. If you are accepted into the seminar and decide not to participate after November 9, 2014, you will be charged the full seminar fee.

Additional spending money: $75


  • Students must provide their own transportation to and from the location, but not while on the immersion.

  • If needing to travel by air, air travel must be confirmed with the seminar director by the end of November.

  • Scholarships are available



  • Class will meet on Thursday nights, 5–7 p.m. November 6–December 4.

  • As part of participation in a seminar, we seek to live intentionally and simply during the immersion, please be flexible. We ask that you take the opportunity to invest fully and embrace the change of pace and amenities.

  • You will receive more specific details about your experience during preparation classes

  • Most meals will be prepared by your team or in conjunction with your hosts.

  • Student leaders and your seminar director will be your liaison with community partner contacts.

  • Lodging is provided – you will be responsible for your own bedding

  • You must participate in all class sessions and entire immersion in order to complete requirements for the course. If you miss any class for any reason you will be responsible for making the class up. 


  • Winter 2015 application is now closed.

  • Application process is a general application which can be found here when open–opens Friday, September 12, 2014.

  • You cannot register for the seminar until you receive registration information from Seminars staff.

  • Notification of seminar placement will happen on or before Monday October 25- please note that the credits earned in the class will be applied to your spring semester.

  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing.

  • With questions about your application, email




Jay Caponigro

Director of Community Engagement




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