Student life: INVST Community Studies

Sabrina Sideris, program director of CU-Boulder's INVST Community Studies, takes great pride in working with CU students to help them learn to become engaged citizens and leaders. In fact, she was once one of those students. Sideris became interested in civic engagement and leadership development when she was a CU-Boulder undergraduate  (1996-2000).

"One of my professors let me know about the INVST program when I was a student, and it seemed like a good fit for me, so I applied to the program," Sideris said. "My two years in INVST were the most meaningful years for me at CU, it really made a difference in my education."

After Sideris graduated from CU-Boulder she took on a part-time job with INVST, before leaving for graduate school and work in Costa Rica and Washington, D.C. In 2007, she returned to CU-Boulder and took over as program director of INVST.

INVST Community Studies offers four innovative programs for students:

Sideris discusses the INVST Community Studies in the following Q & A:

What should students know about INVST Community Studies?

We are a mission-driven organization. Our mission is: we believe in the possibility of a just and sustainable world. We develop community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment. The INVST Community Leadership Program has more than 300 CU alumni who are all over the world taking action toward that shared commitment.

What kind of skills will I learn in the program?

We offer leadership training that is solution-focused to students who want to be change-makers by bringing local, community-based solutions to social and environmental problems in and outside the U.S. Through two, month-long travel opportunities, students in INVST learn first-hand about the most severe challenges facing humanity and the environment.

What about INVST classes and other opportunities?

We have always offered small class sizes and cohort-based learning experiences to undergraduates, who experience a sense of community in the classroom and develop close relationships with each other and their educators. Students are required to work in six hour per week internships. They also have the opportunity to design and implement their own community service projects, which gives them the chance to build a professional network with like-minded people who are passionate about similar topics and challenges.

What are the requirements?

Our program is very challenging, it's 18 credits and it takes two years and a lot of determination to complete. Rather than shying away from this fact, I like to advertise it. It takes discipline and determination to work for social justice and make the world a better place. A program that prepares you to do so shouldn't be easy -- this is not. INVST is not for everyone at CU, but if you like a challenge, want to learn more about yourself and your own talents, interests and passions, and you want to meet folks who are defining the future, apply.


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