Common Good Initiative

haiti altar cgi

"The obligation to "love our neighbor" has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment to the common good." 
- Economic Justice for All, USCCB

Each year, the Common Good Initiative (CGI) brings graduate students from around the University together for hands-on social justice endeavors and community-based learning and research. The program is structured around students participating in either a 1–2 week international immersion experience or an 8-week internship in communities facing poverty within Central and North America during the summer months. In these contexts, students work with people of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds who face discrimination due to homelessness, mental illness, addiction, poverty, race, and gender.
The Common Good Initiative reflects the University’s commitment to bridge learning and research with the needs of concrete communities. Grounded in the fruitful language of Catholic social teaching, the program is premised on two beliefs: 1) that scholarly inquiry should be animated by a sense of solidarity and a concern for the common good; and 2) that scholarly inquiry informed by both a theological and multidisciplinary context is essential to building a just world. Thus, seeking to cultivate such habits of inquiry lies at the very heart of the CGI’s mission.
Students also cultivate skills for multidisciplinary collaboration through required preparatory and follow-up coursework. These sessions aim to engage our students with the fundamentals of Catholic social teaching and multidisciplinary poverty analysis, as well as to ask more ultimate questions about one’s life of faith and responsibility to the common good. During this time students are also given the opportunity to develop research projects relating to their immersion or internship.
All graduate and professional students are welcomed and encouraged to apply. Applicants must also be available for the spring 2014 and fall 2014 CGI on-campus coursework. Immersion participants receive two graduate-level Theology credits for the CGI, and internship participants receive three. Apart from a modest participation fee, all travel, room, and board costs for participants are financially covered by the Common Good Initiative or other campus entities.
Questions? Please contact:
Bob Pfunder
Program Manager
Common Good Initiative