The Common Good Initiative (CGI) is a multi-disciplinary, community-based course in social justice. CGI immerses graduate and professional students from across the university in communities as they struggle to create personal and structural responses to varied aspects of poverty, including industrial decline, global health, labor migration, political instability, and discrimination. 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 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 that includes considerations of religious faith as much as multidisciplinary conversation. Engaged by the complexities of poverty and equipped with the principles and practices of the Catholic social tradition, the Common Good Initiative affords graduate students an opportunity to integrate social justice considerations into their personal and disciplinary interests.

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 in early summer. Apart from a modest participation fee of $200, the Common Good Initiative covers the complete cost of travel, room, and board.

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

The Common Good in Haiti: Global Health, Poverty, and the Preferential Option for the Poor

The 2016 eight-day summer immersion to Haiti will explore global health, poverty, and the preferential option for the poor is tentatively scheduled for May 24-31, 2016. Information sessions will be held in early November 2015 with applications due shortly thereafter. Contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg, CSC, for more information (