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 2016 and fall 2016 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.

2016 immersions:

FALL 2016

Interreligious Dialogue toward the Common Good in the Holy Land (CSC 60696)

Two credit | Interdisciplinary | Fully funded

The weeklong fall immersion for graduate students to the Holy Land is scheduled for October 15-23, 2016. CGI—Jerusalem will enable students to engage with Israelis and Palestinians over joint efforts to foster an adoption of the common good—a foundational principle of Catholic social teaching—as a principal means to overcome the violence, distrust, and enmity that plagues progress toward peace in the Middle East. While on immersion, students will meet with diverse groups, including NGOs and Church-based ministries in the Holy Land after having been prepared during pre-departure sessions that include an introduction to the histories, religions, literatures, and cultures of the peoples at the center of the conflicts. Contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C. for more information. 


Church and State Dialogue in Cuba for the Common Good (CSC 60695) 

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.


The Common Good in Haiti: Global Health, Education, and the Preferential Option for the Poor (CSC 60693) 
The eight-day summer immersion to Haiti is scheduled for May 24-31, 2016. Contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C. for more information.