Seeds of Justice

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 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 skills to guide their work in creating change on and off campus. It runs from Week 4 of the Fall Quarter until the end of the academic year.

Students participate in discussions, trainings, and conversations with community leaders that will inspire and inform their ongoing work for social change. Through the year they engage with a wide range of people working to end these injustices, practice the critical thinking and leadership skills necessary to address these issues, and discern how to use their skills and abilities to impact the world for the better. Additionally, twice a quarter the cohort will explore different communities in the city, using the lens of their weekly conversations to examine its culture and history and to engage meaningfully with the people and organizations working for change in those communities.

Seeds of Justice program alums go on to hold leadership positions in Community Service RSOs, Student Government, Departmental Advisory Boards, and/or House Government; intern at community organizations through UCSC’s Summer Links program and other Metcalf opportunities, as well as at on-campus offices such as UCSC, IOP, OCE, and OMSA; and are widely regarded across campus as ambassadors of positive social change and community engagement. Most 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 sustainable urban gardeners, among others.

Program Goals

  1. To support a diverse group of 20 first-year students interested in gaining an awareness of social justice issues in Chicago communities through discussion, reflection, and direct engagement with the work of local organizations.
  2. To support students in applying what they learn about community-building to take action on and off campus.
  3. To support the work of community organizations in Chicago by facilitating connections between students interested in internship and volunteer opportunities.

“Seeds of Justice has greatly increased and expanded my view of Chicago and led me to challenge my preconceptions and assumptions.”                                       - Program Participant, 2014-2015                                                                                                                                                           “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.”                                                     - Program Participant, 2014-2015

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.

Application is here:

Tuesday, September 29th, 4:45-5:30pm, and Thursday, October 1st4-4:45pm (First Week) – Information sessions for interested participants, with program alums and staff. Location: UCSC Conference Room.

Monday, October 5th, 11:59PM (Second Week) – Application submission deadline.

Thursday, October 8th and Friday, October 9th– Interviews for qualified candidates.

Tuesday, October 13th(Third Week) – Selections announced.

Thursday, October 15th– Deadline to confirm participation.

Saturday, October 17th, 9am-3pm – Day-long Orientation Retreat for newly-selected cohort.

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 their ongoing community service and social change work, and exploring different methods of social change.

Program Model

Selected participants will attend weekly meetings of the cohort on Tuesday nights each quarter from First Week (Fourth Week in Fall Quarter) to Tenth Week, as well as 1-2 Saturday community explorations per quarter (usually morning into early afternoon). Additionally, they will be asked to identify at least one long-term service or engagement activity through an RSO, UCSC, or another campus office/local organization in which to participate throughout the year and to reflect on during weekly sessions.

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

Students with questions should contact Nick Currie, UCSC Community Service Advisor, at