Summer Immersion Trips

cgi haiti immersion trip

Each year the CGI offers 12 graduate students the opportunity to participate in a short-term immersion trip in late May/early June. Participating students are immersed in racially and economically diverse neighborhoods throughout North and Central America for 1-2 weeks with other classmates from around the University.  Students examine the cultural, economic, social, and many other tensions that affect communities in abject poverty or on the margins of society by meeting with local community partners, government, ecclesial organizations, and those themselves living in poverty, marginalization, and injustice.

In past years, students have come from a variety of degree programs on campus. We have had students from the Departments of Theology and Political Science, the Master of Non-Profit Administration program, the Master of Business Administration Program, the College of Engineering, and more participate in the Common Good Initiative immersion experience. Trips are thematically designed to foster enriching collaboration among an interdisciplinary group of participants.

Participants in the CGI Immersion program are required to take the corresponding 2-credit graduate level common good initiative seminar. The seminar bookends the summer immersion portion of the program. It gives participants a structured preparation for the experience vis-à-vis an introduction to Catholic social teaching and multidimensional poverty analysis, as well as contextual preparation. Follow-up sessions give students the opportunity to integrate the immersion experience into their continued learning and research.

Apart from a modest participation fee, all travel, room & board costs are covered by the Common Good Initiative.

“I would absolutely recommend the CGI program to my classmates, but with a stipulation: the classmate must be willing to be very open to what they will be exposed to… The program exposes it's participants to the unimaginable conditions and lives of those affected by poverty. These environments are not only studied and debated, but are experienced firsthand. Walking through the streets of Haiti, stepping into a tarp shelter where 10 people sleep on a mud floor begs a lot more tough questions than it answers. One must be open to realize that these problems are not merely for news stories and documentaries but are problems that are plaguing the majority of the world every day, and it is up to those that have been exposed to them to bring them to light and work to solve them… It is designed to open your eyes, not only to poverty, but to the capacities that its participants hold to improve lives.”

-2012 Haiti Immersion Participant 

Interested students can apply here or contact Bob Pfunder, Program Manager of the Common Good Initiative at or 574-631-2575 with questions.