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 poverty 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, 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 2016 and fall 2016 semesters. Immersions take place during spring break or in early summer. Apart from a modest participation fee of $250, the Common Good Initiative covers the complete cost of travel, room, and board.

2016 immersions:

Church and State Dialogue in Cuba for the Common Good
  • The seven-day spring break immersion to Cuba is scheduled for March 4-10, 2016. Contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C., for more information.
Common Good Initiative: Global Health, Education, and the Preferential Option for the Poor in Haiti
  • The eight-day summer immersion to Haiti is scheduled for May 24-31, 2016. Contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C., for more information.


Application deadline:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Read more Center for Social Concerns 2013–14 Year in Review 


Event Date
Information Session: Common Good Initiative 11/20/2015 -
10:00am to 11:00am
Information Session: Common Good Initiative 11/24/2015 -
4:00pm to 5:00pm