INVST Community Studies

  • Group photo on a grassy lawn
  • Group photo inside large room
  • Group photo outside
  • Students in class

where students and the world are transformed

INVST has been weaving meaningful community engagement together with the theory and practice of community leadership since 1990.

We believe in the possibility of a just and sustainable world.  We develop community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment.

In order to fulfill our mission, we offer these innovative programs:

  1. 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-based action for positive change, young people learn to be effective and responsible community leaders.
  2. Our Community Studies Electives foster civic responsibility and leadership potential. Offered to any CU student and requiring no special application process, we offer courses like "Another City is Possible" and “Nonviolent Social Movements.”
  3. Our partners in the Public Achievement program, which was incubated in INVST before it was adopted by CU Engage, involves college student mentors with local primary and secondary school students in Boulder and beyond, in order to meet civic challenges and solve community problems. In addition, we collaborate with all the programs of CU Engage, our academic home in the School of Education.

We use participatory education to empower students, and we use service learning to expose students to the root causes of problems and offer solution-based strategies for sustainable social and environmental change. These innovative approaches to teaching and learning include the following elements: 

  1. Experiential immersion:  Student learning is most powerful when it is linked to real-world experiences. Encountering the complexities and the richness of real-world scenes first-hand tends to be motivating and transformative.
  2. Reciprocity:  Students can meaningfully participate in the elimination of the negative effects of political, social and environmental arrangements, while seeking to understand them. Members of the community, various organizations and institutions, and the natural environment all enrich student learning, while the students enrich them, through their contributions. Service-learning activities require close contact with both academic and community-based supervisors and coaches, to ensure that outcomes are mutually beneficial.
  3. Critical reflexivity:  Student learning occurs most powerfully when it combines text-based learning with real-world experiences through intentional reflection activities. Reflection, many say, is the hyphen in “service-learning.”