Seeds of Justice

Seeds Photo.jpg

Class of 2022 Application is now closed

Seeds of Justice is a community-building and leadership development program for 20 selected first-year students in the College. The program provides students with the opportunity to have and reflect on meaningful service and social change experiences, increase their awareness of the complexity of social justice issues (such as healthcare, housing, and education) as they are manifested in the city of Chicago, and practice valuable leadership and community-building skills to guide their work in creating change on and off campus. It runs from Week 5 of the Fall Quarter until the end of the academic year.

Hear from Program Alumni    

Check out the video to learn more!

Program Model

The Seeds of Justice program consists of two major components, together totaling approximately 20 hours per quarter:

Tuesday Cohort Meetings:  The 20-person cohort meets as a group five times a quarter, from 5:30-7:30 on Tuesday nights at the UCSC (Weeks 5-7 & 9-10 during Fall Quarter, and Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10 during Winter and Spring). At these meetings the group will engage with community leaders working on a variety of issues and in a variety of areas, who will inspire and inform their ongoing work for social change. Additionally, through discussions, reflection, readings, and other activities, the group will explore these issues and practice the critical thinking and leadership skills necessary to address them, all while building and sustaining community with one another. 

Engagement and Reflection:  During Fall Quarter, participants will be matched to a community organization whose work aligns with their interests, and will make an ongoing commitment to contribute to a project, initiative, or a program of that organization with the intent of supporting their work and and giving participants hands-on experience addressing social issues. The weekly or monthly committment will be determined based on availability and need. 

Beginning in Winter Quarter, participants will meet every other week (Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, & 9) in small groups for one hour-long Relfection Circles. In these circles, participants will discuss their work at their site, dig deeper into issues being discussed in cohort meetings, and consider their own growth and development as emerging civic engagement leaders.  

Program Staff

Program staff (one professional staff and two graduate student program assistants) will provide guidance, mentorship, and advising opportunities one-on-one and in small groups over the course of the year.

Program Alumni

Seeds of Justice program alums become widely regarded across campus as ambassadors for positive social change and community engagement. They often go on to hold leadership positions in Community Service RSOs, Student Government, Departmental Advisory Boards, and House Government. Many will intern at community organizations, often through Metcalf opportunities or Summer Links, as well as at on-campus offices such as UCSC, Institute of Politics, & Center for Identity + Inclusion. All of them continue their engagement in direct and indirect service on and off campus as a result of their participation, taking on diverse roles as tutors, organizers, campaign volunteers, health and wellness advocates, community-based artists, and urban gardeners, among others.

Reflections from Seeds of Justice Program Alumni:

“Seeds of Justice has greatly increased and expanded my view of Chicago and led me to challenge my preconceptions and assumptions.”    

“Seeds of Justice has helped me develop my personal passions, build a foundational understanding of a wide variety of justice issues, and meet brilliant people who care about the same things that I do.”  

How to Apply

Seeds of Justice is an academic year-long cohort program for first-years, so there is one selection cycle which takes place at the beginning of fall quarter.

The application link can be found at the top of this page, and we are currently accepting applications!

Orientation, First & Second Week:  Tabling and information sessions for interested participants. Come meet up with us and learn more:

  • Friday, September 28th: Student Civic Engagement Opportunities Fair, 1:30-3:30pm at the Student Civic Engagement Center, Edelstone, 6030 S Ellis Ave 
  • Tuesday, October 2nd: Leadership Development Cohort Programs Information Session, 5:30-6:30pm at the Center for Identity + Inclusion, 5710 S Woodlawn Ave
  • Friday, October 5th: Student Activities & Resources Fair (SARF), 3-5:30pm on the Main Quads (Henry Crown in case of poor weather)
  • Tuesday, October 9th: Info Session, 5-5:45pm at the Student Civic Engagement Center, Edelstone, 6030 S Ellis Ave 
  • Thursday, October 11th: Info Session, 12-12:45pm at the Student Civic Engagement Center, Edelstone, 6030 S Ellis Ave 

Friday, October 12th, 11:59PM (Second Week): Application Deadline

Week of October 15th (Third Week)  Group interviews (45 minutes) for qualified candidates

Tuesday, October 23rd (Fourth Week):  Selections announced

Thursday, October 25th:  Deadline to confirm participation

Saturday, October 27th, 9AM-1PM* – Cohort Orientation/Opening Retreat 

Tuesday, October 30th, 5:30-7:30PM:  First weekly Tuesday meeting

Selection Critieria

A good Seeds of Justice applicant is someone with experience in community service and civic engagement who is interested in exploring the root causes of inequities, deepening the quality of their ongoing community service and social change work, and exploring different methods of social change. They will be someone who is energized to explore service and civic engagement beyond Seeds of Justice as well, with an interest in joining RSOs or other programs where they can engage with the wider community.

Additonally, a good applicant will have a demonstrated interest in being part of an intentional, challenging, and supportive community experience, and will be thoughtful about what they can contribute to the development of such a group. 

Students with questions should contact Nick Currie, UCSC Assistant Director for Student Leadership and Advising, at