Picking SeedsGeneral Information

Puksta Scholars will be engaged in a rich, stimulating and important program of civic engagement. They will serve as models of civic and social responsibility promoting positive change within our communities. The work of the Puksta Scholar will effectively integrate learning in and outside the classroom resulting in an enhanced and illuminating educational experience and responsible citizenship. The Puksta Scholars is now recognized as one of the university’s “Special Enhancement Opportunities Programs.” Furthermore, in 2008, CU-Boulder received the Presidential Award from the federal government as one of the top three universities in the nation in civic engagement. Puksta played a prominent role in receiving this award. Funding for the program is provided by the Puksta Foundation and the university.

There are thirteen 2022-2023 Puksta Scholars.

Program Requirements

Within the context of the definition of civic engagement, Puksta Scholars are expected to:

1)  Actively participate in public service and contribute to the common good.

2) Engage in and complete all requirements for the first-year Puksta Scholar Civic Knowledge curriculum.

3) Develop a “Civic Engagement Commitment Plan” with their coordinator at the beginning of each semester and fulfill the self-assigned requirements of that plan. Devote considerable time and effort to their civic engagement endeavors, an average of 6 hours per week/20 hours per month. Quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the personal growth and community impact that occurred as a result of that engagement at the end of each year.

4) Contribute to the Puksta Program community by actively building relationships with cohort members and supporting others civic engagement efforts.

5) Register and complete all requirements for Puksta Scholars Practicum course (INVS 2005) and attend Puksta events and meetings.

Scholars are expected and encouraged to:

  1. Develop a plan for engagement work for which you are passionate. This is an essential element of a successful Puksta experience. Also, make sure that your plans are realistic in scope and manageable.
  2. Explore and address the systemic and root causes of the problem(s) your work is immersed in. For example, volunteering at a homeless shelter is engagement that does not address root causes that lead to homelessness. In your engagement work, you need to examine, reflect and hopefully begin to address the root causes of homelessness.
  3. Develop and implement plans to sustain and continue your engagement work once you are no longer a Puksta Scholar. If you have developed a new program or service, how will that program or service continue when you are gone? Who will be responsible for continuing your good work? If you have created a tremendous mentoring program for middle school students, your program needs to continue after you have left. How will you address sustainability?

Responsibilities include:

  1. Devote an average of 6-8 hours per week to your Puksta work, which includes planning and preparation time.
  2. Register and complete all requirements for the Puksta Scholars course INVS 2005.
  3. Attend Puksta events. This is a requirement.
  4. Attend meetings with your Puksta advisor. This is a requirement.
  5. Submit required commitment plan, reports and make a re-application/final presentation. All plans and reports need to be reviewed and signed by your on-site supervisor, if you have one.

Puksta Work

Puksta engagement plans can either be individual or group based. Group work is encouraged, though they need to be substantially more extensive in scope than an individual project. 

Likewise, if a scholar is also involved in another program with a civic engagement emphasis such as INVST Community Studies or President’s Leadership Class, he/she may develop one project for both programs, but the plan for Puksta must be substantially more extensive and distinctive than a project done for just one program. It is incumbent upon the scholar to work closely with advisors in both programs to define the breadth and depth of the project and to effectively coordinate with both programs.

Scholars need to insure their engagement plans are realistic in scope and manageable. 

Civic Engagement Commitment Work

Scholars will develop a one page draft civic engagement work plan which will be submitted prior to the opening reception. The plan must define:

  1. The civic engagement work.
  2. The needs it will meet for the community and issues being addressed and scholar.
  3. The community that will be served by the project (CU campus, Boulder, Denver…) and the agency/program within which the project will occur.
  4. The plan's goals both quantitative and qualitative including impact on the community and scholar.
  5. How the scholar will integrate his/her learning in the classroom and community (apply classroom learning to the civic engagement work and vice versa).

Puksta Advisors will work with scholars to refine engagement plans as needed.

If the scholar will be working in an existing agency/program, establish necessary relationship and understanding with the agency/program supervisor including the type of work to be performed, time requirements and expectations of the Puksta Scholar. The on-site supervisor needs to review the project plan with the scholar.

The final project plan with the name/address/phone number and signature of approval of the agency/program on-site supervisor (if applicable) must be submitted in early fall and approved by the Puksta coordinator and possibly internship site. Scholars working in an existing agency/program need to provide their agency/program supervisor with a copy of the final project plan.

First Year Scholars

First Year Scholars will be committed to completing a specialized curriculum as part of their Puksta hours and engagement work for their first year. This curriculum focuses on the civic engagement foundations that scholars will need to be engaged in future work. The curriculum covers topics such as power, privilege, and oppression; grassroots organizing; and relationship building. First year scholars will be expected to attend 4 online sessions with Puksta scholars from other campuses to engage in conversations in these topics. They will also complete readings and submit reflections in preparation for these sessions. 

Reports and Presentation

Scholars are required to submit progress and final reports and make a final presentation. Forms and guidelines will be sent to scholars and will be available on the Puksta website. All plans and reports need to be reviewed and signed by your on-site supervisor, if you have one.

Puksta Assistance Program

The Puksta Assistance Program enables scholars to access limited funds to support their projects. The funds can only be used to directly assist a scholar’s project activities. Examples include food for a project event, transportation of clients to an event or service, copying costs for project materials, literature, school or art supplies for the project’s clients or advertising for an activity related to a project such as a fund raiser. Each scholar can access a maximum of $265. Forms and guidelines will be sent to scholars and will be available on the Puksta website.


Various events are planned throughout the year. They are designed to enhance the Puksta experience and support scholars in their civic engagement work. SCHOLARS ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND THESE EVENTS. These include CU Boulder Retreat, Puksta Foundation Retreats, and Puksta Passage (end of year celebration and presentation of work). The schedule will be on the syllabus for the course.


Scholarships may be renewable based upon available funding and successful completion of program requirements. The re-application process entails submission of a Re-application/Final Report and a presentation. Note: all scholars regardless of whether they re-apply need to submit the report and make a presentation. Re-applications will be evaluated on the following criteria.

  • Quality of Puksta engagement work.
  • Fulfill hours requirement of an average of 6-8 hours a week, which includes planning and preparation time.
  • Attendance at Puksta events.
  • Attend meetings with Puksta advisor.
  • Submit required project plan, reports and make a re-application/final presentation.


Scholars are eligible to receive the Puksta scholarship (based on yearly successful completion of program requirements and available funding) for a limited number of semesters as follows:

  • Firest year – Eight semesters
  • Second year– Six semesters
  • Third year– Four semesters

Please note that incoming seniors are ineligible to apply to be new Puksta Scholars.

Scholars must be enrolled as a full time student to receive the full Puksta Scholarship. To receive a full semester scholarship during summer term, a scholar must take a minimum of ten credit hours.

Scholars who receive any type of salary/payment for their Puksta project besides their scholarship need to contact their advisor immediately. Salary or payment for your Puksta work may impact your scholarship.

If a scholar will be gone from campus for any of his/her semesters in Puksta such as for Study Abroad, he/she needs to contact the Puksta Coordinator as soon as possible.

Scholars who have completed their semester eligibility, but who will continue as enrolled students at CU-Boulder (i.e. five years to graduate) can still participate in Puksta as “Affiliates” and can partake in all Puksta events and are eligible for Puksta Assistance Program funding if they are continuing their Puksta projects. However, these “Affiliates’ will not receive Puksta scholarships. This policy allows us to better spread the scholarship funding, but also helps support those scholars who have completed their semester eligibility continue their important projects and involvement in Puksta.