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, depending on the course. Immersions take place during semester breaks or in early summer. Apart from a modest participation fee ($250 or $300, depending on site), the Common Good Initiative covers the complete cost of travel, room, and board.


The Common Good in Haiti: Global Health, Education, and the Preferential Option for the Poor (CSC 60693)
Two credit│Interdisciplinary | Fully funded

CGI-Haiti is a social justice immersion course for graduate students only. Though the immersion component of this course is not of the service or mission variety, we nevertheless encounter the collateral damage that Haiti has suffered from both the forces of nature, such as it’s 2010 earthquake and hurricanes, and humankind itself; it is the latter, we will find, that sets up the structures that render Haiti so vulnerable to the former. But there is more hope in Haiti than despair. Why is that? Come see. From Rara (analogous to the carnival festivals of Latin America) to life amidst the lakou or in the mountains, Notre Dame’s Haiti Program, with whom we partner, is witness to the great hospitality and aspirations of Haitian life. With these and other resources, especially the expertise of Dr. Karen Richman, the course will enable you to formulate personal and structural responses in light of the preferential option for the poor, especially as these might advance the common good through the amelioration of prevention and eradication of disease, poverty, and systemic injustice. The immersion is scheduled during Spring Break 2017. Contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C. (mailto: for more information or attend one of the information sessions listed below.



Event Date
Information Session: Common Good Initiative - Haiti 11/01/2016 -
4:00pm to 4:30pm
Information Session: Common Good Initiative - Haiti 11/02/2016 -
12:00pm to 12:30pm