We are no longer accepting applications.

Our next appliation cycle will open in the Fall of 2024.

We believe in the possibility of a just and sustainable world.  We develop community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment. INVST is an academic program that admits up to 16 students each year in order to foster a small, interactive environment. The program combines practical skills training, meaningful community-based action, and theory in a unique, participatory model. Students who successfully complete The INVST Program can earn the Leadership Studies Minor from CU Boulder.

Change your life, while learning to change the world, in INVST.

INVST is open to CU Boulder undergraduates from all majors and departments. You may be a freshman, sophomore, or junior when you apply. You may also apply to INVST while you are in the process of applying to CU Boulder, either as a freshman or a transfer student. 

Inclusion Commitment:

We actively seek and support the participation of individuals and communities that reflect diversity of ability status, age, color, documentation status, ethnicity, gender, gender variance, life experience, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and veteran status.

Commitment to Anti-oppressive Education:

INVST Community Studies is committed to anti-oppressive education. We acknowledge the importance of examining not only how groups are oppressed but also how groups are privileged and how these two processes maintain social structures. We are dedicated to challenging dominant ideologies and systems, centering traditionally underrepresented voices, questioning the assumption that information is unbiased, and critiquing what is thought of as normal.

First Year Climate Justice Summer (in August 2024 in person): The first summer experience is focused on energy, power, extraction and environmental sustainability in the US Southwest.

First Year Fall:          

INVS 3302/WGST 3302 Facilitating Peaceful Community Change (theory class) – 3 credits

INVS 3931 The Community Leadership Internship, Part 1 (skills class, with 4-6 hours in an internship) – 3 credits

First Year Spring:        

INVS 3932 The Community Leadership Internship, Part 2 (skills class, with 4-6 hours in an internship) – 3 credits

Second Year Economic Justice Summer (in August 2025 in person): The second summer experience gives students the opportunity to learn about immigration, labor justice and economic justice movements. We will drive to the US Midwest to encounter community partner organizations and visionary leaders.

Second Year Fall:             

INVS/ETHN 3671 People of Color and Social Movements (or alternative theory class) – 3 credits

INVS 4931 Community Leadership in Action, Part 1 (skills class, with 6 hours implementing a community-based project) – 3 credits      

Second Year Spring:         

INVS 4932 Community Leadership in Action, Part 2 (skills class, with 6 hours on community-based project) – 3 credits

To complete the Leadership Studies Minor you also take LEAD 4000, which is offered each semester (including in the summer). 

We ask you to consider the time commitment required for the 2-year INVST Program. Participants are required to do 4-6 hours of community-based action per week, during each of four semesters.  In addition, students in INVST occasionally attend voluntary committee meetings to help with outreach, fundraising, curriculum design and staff hiring. All of this gives INVST students first-hand experience. If you would like to evaluate whether or not you have enough time to participate, the INVST staff at 303-492-8045 would be happy to discuss how your current activities might be incorporated with program requirements. It is possible, for those who would be unable to do an unpaid internship, to choose a paid internship during the first year in INVST. We also offer stipends to compensate you for your time if you have financial need. As well, we offer affordable, sustainable housing in one of four local housing cooperatives -- an opportunity exclusively available to INVST students.

All interested students should submit an application. Letters of recommendation are not required; they are optional. An interview will be granted to all applicants. 

Apply Now

Please complete our INVST application which is a Google form. We expect that it will take you one hour or less to complete the application. Your optional letter(s) of recommendation can be emailed to invst@colorado.edu. Letters of recommendation are not required to apply to INVST. We accept applications on a rolling basis. Submit your application any time. 

If you have any questions about the application process, contact invst@colorado.edu.

Apply Now

We offer scholarships to those with financial need. Please apply to INVST first, and then seek financial support if you need it.

While there are financial obligations that go along with INVST participation, please do not let them prevent you from applying to INVST! We offer scholarship support to all those who need it. For those who DO have the means (together with their families), we charge a Summer Program Activity Fee of $1,500 per person per summer, due on June 1 to contribute to the costs of the Justice Summers. The fee covers all expenses including summer travel, room and board, instruction, translation, materials, accommodation and home stays. The meals and snacks provided during our Justice Summers accomodate a wide variety of dietary preferences. All summer travel will be by car, not by plane.

If you are accepted into The INVST Program and you need financial assistance, we provide the following options:

The Dreamer Scholarship: Scholarship applicants with active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) status are encouraged to apply for an award of up to $5,000 to help cover tuition and life expenses. Preference will be given to students who can demonstrate financial need and scholarships are eligible for renewal based on criteria established by INVST. This scholarship will be granted to those who are ineligible for federal aid and demonstrate financial need. If more than one person in the incoming cohort is eligible, funds will be split between them. 

Colorado In-State Financial Aid: The Colorado Application for State Financial Aid (CASFA) gives aid to students who have resided in the state for at least three years before graduating from a Colorado high school or passing a high school equivalency exam. Students who are eligible for Federal Title IV aid by completing the FAFSA should not complete the CASFA. More info and application here: https://cdhe.colorado.gov/colorado-application-for-state-financial-aid

Receive funding to travel with us in Summer 2024: Students who are accepted into the INVST Class of 2024-2026 are eligible to receive up to $1,500 in funding to replace wages you would have earned at your summer job. We hope this will allow you to apply to INVST and join us for transformative learning and community-based action.

We know INVST is a significant time commitment. That's why we have partnered with a generous donor in the community. We will fund you to take 3 weeks off from your summer job and instead travel with us on the unique and memorable Climate Justice Summer. 

The Jim Downton Community Leadership Scholarship of up to $3,000 towards CU Boulder tuition will be awarded to two students in the incoming INVST class. This scholarship will be granted to those who demonstrate need and are residents of the state of Colorado.

Summer Program Activity Fee Scholarship:  Scholarships range from partial to full coverage of the Summer Program Activity Fees, based on availability. Students must apply for support from INVST and they will be notified of the scholarship amount in their acceptance letter. *** If they are eligible for federal aid, students MUST submit their most current FAFSA or CASFA after their interview, in order to be considered for a scholarship. 

Summer Need-Based Work Study:  Students who qualify for need-based work study can work in the INVST office. Submit a FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, through the Office of Financial Aid to apply for summer and academic-year work study awards.

Summer Program Activity Fee Work Exchange:  Some students may work off portions of the Summer Program Activity Fee (SPAF) by assisting in the INVST office at an exchange rate that equates each hour of work to $15.00, discounted off the fee.  A contract will be completed for work exchange through INVST, in advance of the SPAF deadline of June 1.

Summer Program Activity Fee Interest-Free Payment Plan:  Students may delay payment of the Summer Program Activity Fee (SPAF). Repayment amounts and eligibility are decided on a case-by-case basis, in advance of the SPAF deadline of June 1.

Earn the Leadership Studies Minor from CU Boulder! INVST is one of the pathways to earning the Leadership Studies Minor. For more information, please see the following web site: Leadership Studies Minor administered by CU Engage

For more information, contact us at 303-472-6616 or invst@colorado.edu.