Seeds of Justice

Seeds Photo.jpg

Class of 2021 Application

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 new Seeds of Justice video!

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 5-8 & 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:  Beginning in Winter Quarter and lasting until the end of the year, participants will take part in small group Engagement Projects and Reflection Sessions. During Engagement Projects, participants will contribute ongoingly to a project, initiative, or program led by one of a small number of selected community organizations, with the intent of contributing to the organization's work and giving students hands-on experience in addressing social issues. Students will have the opportunity to select Engagement Projects at the end of Fall Quarter and will be asked to make a minimum monthly committment of 3 hours. During Reflection Sessions, groups of five will meet for an hour to reflect on their service experiences (in Engagement Projects and elsewhere), dig deeper into issues being discussed in cohort meetings, and consider their own growth and development as a civic engagement leaders. Reflection Sessions will occur roughly once a month and on odd-numbered weeks. 

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 Week: Join us and learn more about Seeds of Justice at the O-Week Student Civic Engagement Opportunities Fair, Friday, September 22nd, 1:30-3:30pm in Ida Noyes (3rd Floor Theater).

First & Second Week:  Information sessions for interested participants. Times and Dates to be announced.

  • Tuesday, September 26th, 5:30-6:30pm. Joint info session with the Center for Leadership & Involvement and OMSA. Learn about Seeds of Justice and two other leadership development cohorts, the Student Leadership Institute and the Emerging Minds Project. Location: 5710 S. Woodlawn Ave. 
  • Friday, September 29th, 3-5:30pm. Seeds program staff and alums will be tabling at the Student Activities and Resources Fair with the UCSC. Location: Main Quad (Henry Crown in the case of inclement weather).
  • Monday, October 2nd, 4:30-5:30pm. Join staff and alums at the UCSC for an informational sesssion and learn about the program! Location: 5525 S. Ellis Ave Ste. 160, Conference Room. 

Friday, October 6th, 11:59PM (Second Week): Application Deadline

Week of October 9th (Third Week)  Group interviews for qualified candidates

Tuesday, October 17th(Fourth Week):  Selections announced

Thursday, October 19th:  Deadline to confirm participation

Saturday, October 21st, 9AM-1PM* – Cohort Orientation Retreat (*Time has been updated due to cross-scheduling with Parent's Weekend.)

Tuesday, October 24th, 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