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 and community-building 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.

Program Model

Tuesday Cohort Meetings:  Selected participants will attend weekly meetings of the cohort from 5:30-7:30 on Tuesday nights each quarter from First Week (Fourth Week in Fall Quarter) to Tenth Week at UCSC, which may include trainings and conversations with community and student leaders who will inspire and inform their ongoing work for social change. Through the year, students 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. 

Saturday Community Explorations:  Twice a quarter (usually morning into early afternoon), 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. 

Service and Civic Engagement Activity:  Students will be asked to identify at least one long-term service or engagement activity through an RSO, UCSC, or another campus office, local organization, or point of engagement (fraternities/sororities, places of worship, residential community, etc.) in which to participate throughout the year.

Program Staff

Program staff (one professional staff and two program alumni student interns) 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, as well as at on-campus offices such as UCSC, Institute of Politics, Center for Identity + Inclusions. 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 sustainable 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.

Click here to apply today!

First Week (Dates and Times TBA):  Information sessions for interested participants, with program alums and staff. Location: TBA. Check this spot for more details!

Monday, October 3rd, 5PM (Second Week): Application Deadline

Thursday, October 6th and Friday, October 7th:  Group interviews for qualified candidates

Tuesday, October 11th(Third Week):  Selections announced

Thursday, October 13th:  Deadline to confirm participation

Saturday, October 15th, 9AM-3PM – Day-long Cohort Orientation Retreat 

Tuesday, October 18th, 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. In addition to participating in Seeds, they should be energized to take on an ongoing social change activity on their own time, from which they can draw experiences to reflect on during weekly programs. 

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 Community Service Advisor, at ncurrie@uchicago.edu.