Chicago Bound 2019 Pre-Orientation Week Program


Chicago Bound Alumni Grants

Online Application Deadline: Friday, June 14, 2019!

Click here to Apply TODAY and here to watch program video!

Chicago Bound is a 7-day (Saturday, September 14, 2019 to Friday, September 20, 2019) student-led pre-orientation program sponsored by UCSC and the Institute of Politics for 40 incoming first-year students to promote community awareness and civic engagement.  Housing and meals will be provided.

Chicago Bound staff and student leaders guide students through nearly a dozen Chicago communities. Students will grow their appreciation for the vibrant history, diverse cultures, incredible food, and social challenges that are heard about around the world—all in a tight-knit cohort of 40 first-year students led by 10 current UChicago students who are program alumni and a UChicago graduate student. Through Chicago Bound, students will become more informed about Chicago and methods of effecting social change, including direct service, research and evaluation, advocacy and activism, community organizing, public policy, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and philanthropy. Issues students can expect to learn about include immigration, segregation and racism, education, health, community economic development, gender and identity.

No prior civic engagement, volunteering, or social justice experience is needed to apply. Ideal candidates will have a curiosity about social issues; a desire to understand how government, businesses, and social culture create the opportunities and injustices that exist in Chicago and beyond; good social skills that allow them to function well within an incredibly diverse (racial, economic, cultural, gender, etc.) student cohort; and a desire to learn how any future career can serve to improve our world. Chicago Bound professional staff are highly trained, experienced, and well-connected social educators who have years of experience mentoring, educating, and administering programs for students and career professionals. All students who are accepted into the Chicago Bound program will have the opportunity, once they have completed the program, to access academic-year alumni microgrant funding for projects they would like to initiate on-and off-campus that develop, illuminate, or challenge a social concern

Note: Participants are expected to contribute $100 contribution to help defray program costs. This expense will be added to your Winter Quarter tuition bill.  Financial assistance is available for students, please indicate on your application if the $100 contribution is a barrier to your participation. Students will be responsible for any personal or incidental expenses.

Questions? Please contact UCSC Assistant Director Chris Huff at

Program Goals

Immersion in the city of Chicago

  • Learn about social justice issues that Chicago communities face.
  • Examine the root causes of these issues and how they play out in specific communities on the north, west, and south sides of Chicago.
  • Adjust to becoming residents to the third largest city in the country.

Instilling an ethos of service

  • Broaden notion of service to include the various ways to effect social change (advoacy and activism, public policy, philanthropy, etc.)
  • Know how to take action on social justice issues in the future.
  • Increase and sustain ethos of service during the academic year.

Student leadership development

  • Interact with a variety of community leaders to explore possible career paths and to Increase students’ understanding of, and ability to interact with, classmates of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds; to have productive discussions.
  • Practice critical thinking and analysis skills to prepare for the rigorous academic experience as a UChicago student.
  • Have the opportunity to assume leadership roles to get peers involved in different service and community engagement opportunities during the academic year with support from UCSC and IOP. 

Reflections from Chicago Bound Program Alumni:

"By going through the experience of Chicago Bound, my expectations of the role of my college education greatly changed. I learned that my experience at the University should not be solely academic, and that my studies should include working on building relationships with others and forming a network that can be mobilized for the good of a single community as well as Chicago at large."

"Walking into session after session conducted by members of our Chicago community who experienced difficulties such as homelessness and incarceration gave me insight into a world I never could have seen from a classroom. The profoundness of the speakers’ passion about social justice issues that they are fighting for will undoubtedly stick with me as I begin to formulate causes that I deem to be important."

Application Process & Timeline

Online Application Due:  Friday, June 14, 2019 (11:59PM CST)

Decisions Announced:  Friday, July 5, 2018

Student Acceptance Confirmation:  Friday, July 12, 2018, (5PM CST)

Program Dates:  Saturday, September 14 (program kick-off at 12pm) to Friday, September 20, 2018 (program closing at 10:30pm)

To learn more about Chicago Bound, click here for the FAQ and here to watch the program video.  We're excited to receive your application!