• Civic Engagement and Social Justice

  • Civic Engagement and Social Justice
  • At Lang, social justice is the ethical core of a liberal arts education. Lang’s Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice (CESJ) is a hub that creates opportunities in which students can bridge their social justice passions and academic work and build community with others who are dedicated to leading social justice–centered lives. CESJ programs take the form of “learning communities,” composed of students, faculty, staff, and community partner organizations around New York City. Through our civic engagement and social justice programming, the Lang community connects theoretical frameworks with the lived experience of working to become a critical space where transformative learning occurs.

    Our vision is for Lang to be a place where transformative learning occurs. To that end, we create spaces for students, faculty, and staff to show up fully and progress together toward a more just society. 

    Current CESJ programs include:

    • Year-Round Discretionary Funding (“Mini-Grants”) and Summer Fellowship Grants, which allocate financial resources to individual and student groups’ professional learning, activist initiatives, creative and research projects, and community-based activities that address themes of and take action toward social justice or civic engagement. The Summer Fellowships are dedicated to students who are pursuing unfunded or under-funded summer internships designed to further social justice values, practice, and/or scholarship.

    • The Freedom Scholars Program is a selective four-year scholarship program for students at Eugene Lang College. The program provides need-based scholarships each year from Orientation to graduation for up to 48 Lang students. The Freedom Scholars program is more than a scholarship—it is a four-year academic and community opportunity for students to develop work and identity as social justice scholars and activists. 

    • Lang Prison Initiative: In spring 2018, Lang piloted a course at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal facility located in downtown Manhattan that houses men and women accused of federal crimes or serving short-term sentences. This is the first time MCC has opened its doors to a college, and Lang’s class marked the first college course offering in a federal prison in New York’s history. In fall 2018, we built on this pilot class by running another class solely for MCC students, along with one combined class, bringing Lang students to MCC to engage in classes along with incarcerated students. We believe these classes will not only benefit the professors and students who have their classes inside but build a culture of restorative justice and compassion that is essential to social justice work. This pilot project was made possible by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation.

    • The New School Debate Team competes in collegiate policy debate at the Novice, JV, and Open levels. The team is a part of both the Cross Examination Debate Association (CDA) and the National Debate Tournament (NDT). New School students can join the team with any level of debate experience. The team also does campus and community outreach.
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