Programs and Initiatives

CU EngageCU Engage includes a number of civic engagement, democratic education, and dialogues programs on the CU Boulder campus.

Aquetza Summer Program


Aquetza Summer Program

Aquetza is a free, one-week summer residential program on the Campus of CU Boulder that provides high school students with strong ties to Chicano/Latino communities from across Colorado with an interactive, academic enrichment experience focused on engaging Chican@/Latin@ youth in examining the history, literature, health science, and relevant social and political issues surrounding their cultural communities, through rigorous academic work in ethnic studies, writing, reading, and science. Through our programming, attendees will have opportunities to see themselves as scholars – as holders and producers of new and valuable knowledge – as well as a chance to develop the skills to become leaders in their communities.
Learn More about Aquetza Summer Program


CU Dialogues ProgramCU Dialogues Program

The CU Dialogues Program engages diverse groups within the University in honest conversation with one another through facilitated dialogues in CU classes and other campus settings that:

  • encourage open sharing of multiple perspectives;
  • create experiential learning opportunities that reinforce course content across a range of disciplines;
  • generate critical thinking as participants address complex issues;
  • provide simultaneous translation as needed.

A dialogue raises awareness of others’ viewpoints and prompts self-reflection, enabling participants to bridge differences and identify common ground.

  • “It was really interesting to be in a space where everyone was given equal respect and everyone’s perspectives were shared in a very honest way.  That’s a rare conversation to have.” 
  • “Amazing experience—I will never forget it and will follow a different path now when trying to understand different people’s situations.” 
  • “I learned how to open up and to broaden my thinking while listening to others.”

The CU Dialogues Program serves all sectors of the University community, including academic departments/units, RAPs and residence halls, student organizations, and Student Affairs.
Learn More about CU Dialogues

Give to CU Dialogues


Graduate Fellowship in Community-Based Research

This fellowship is designed for a cohort of 3-5 PhD students; students from all academic departments at CU Boulder are eligible to participate. The purpose is to train a generation of scholars in the practices and principles of community-based research (CBR). The online application will open the week of April 6, in partnership with the Office of Outreach and Engagement.
Learn More about Graduate Fellowships in Community-Based Research


INVST Community StudiesINVST Community Studies Program

Since 1990, INVST has been developing CU Boulder students into engaged citizens and leaders who work for the benefit of humanity and the environment. In order to fulfill our mission, we offer three programs:

  • The INVST Community Leadership Program offers transformative service-learning for social and environmental justice. This intensive two-year training program develops community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment. Through a combination of theory, skills and community service, CU Boulder students learn to be effective and responsible community leaders.
  • Our Community Studies Electives foster civic responsibility and leadership potential. Offered to any CU student and requiring no special application process, we offer courses such as "Another City is Possible" and "Nonviolent Social Movements."
  • Our Youth Council for Public Policy empowers students to use the democratic process as a tool for positive social change. It provides local high school students with the opportunity to attend classes on the CU Boulder campus alongside college students, earning CU credit.
    Learn More about INVST

Give to INVST Community Studies


Leadership Studies Minor (LSM)

The Leadership Studies Minor (LSM) enables you to develop as a leader. Whether you plan to lead a start-up, be a community organizer, found a non-profit, serve in the military, or run for office, one common ingredient is leadership. We in the LSM seek students from all walks of life and all majors.

We seek students who are curious about what the academic research says about leadership and who want to practice leadership as a CU student. You might not think of yourself as a “leader” right now, but by pursuing the LSM you will learn new ways to think about leadership and discover your own leadership strengths. If you already have a track record of leadership, this is a place to broaden your understanding and deepen your skills. Check us out!

The LSM, housed in the School of Education, is available to CU Boulder students from all majors and colleges. The LSM is a program of CU Engage: Center for Community-Based Learning and Research, working in partnership with the Newton Chair for Leadership.
Learn More About Leadership Studies Minor (LSM)


Public Achievement ProgramPublic Achievement Program

An international youth leadership program founded in 1990 at the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota, Public Achievement places young people in the center of public life. Rooted in cooperative team action, PA engages participants in solutions-based analysis and action to address youth-identified social issues, posit an alternative approach to politics, and provide experiential educational opportunities. PA students collaborate with CU Boulder student "coaches" to design, implement, and undertake community-based projects that address social issues that express their values and beliefs. In addition to its youth leadership and civic engagement goals for K-12 students, PA provides CU Boulder undergraduates with a meaningful and structured opportunity to develop facilitation and instruction skills and apply political theory to democratic projects in school-based settings.
Learn More about Public Achievement

Give to PA


Puksta Scholars Program

The Puksta Scholars Program is an academic scholarship program for undergraduate students who have a deep commitment to civic engagement. Puksta Scholars serve as a catalyst for bringing about positive change in the campus culture and in the local communities, while acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences necessary for ethical, responsible citizenship upon graduation. The Puksta Scholars Program is one of CU Boulder's Special Enhancement Opportunities Programs.
Learn More about Puksta Scholars


Student Worker Alliance at CU BoulderStudent Worker Alliance Program (SWAP)

The Student Worker Alliance Program (SWAP) is a grassroots, student-run, and dynamic program that is committed to cross-cultural engagement, mutual empowerment, skills acquisition, and solidarity in addressing inequality. SWAP seeks to convene systematically divided campus sectors to share a common learning and cultural experience.

In practice, CU Boulder undergraduates provide free and convenient English language classes to predominantly immigrant University employees who hold under-appreciated yet indispensable positions on campus and in the community.Participating students receive interactive and culturally informative trainings volunteers, preparing them to teach one-on-one or small group English classes. SWAP operates through the support of an evolving organizing committee, part-time student staff positions and an expansive volunteer network
.Learn More about Student Worker Alliance Program.


Undergraduate Participatory Action Research

Since August 2014 a team of five undergraduates, one doctoral student, and one faculty member have been exploring issues of access, equity, and diversity on the CU-Boulder campus. This research, funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, will inform CU Engage's strategic planning and inclusive practices. Drawing on the principles and practices of participatory action research (PAR), our team is a) documenting community engagement perspectives and activities among students from under-represented groups; b) identifying factors that act as either barriers or invitations to greater involvement; and c) proposing strategies for CU Engage to implement in its first three years. The provisional title of the study is "Everyone has to change: Why intentions don't add up for engaging under-represented students."
Learn More about Undergraduate Participatory Research


Past Programs and Initiatives