Summer 2022 Program Updates

2022 Program Model Details (4/8/22)

As previously announced, the summer 2022 Engage Chicago program will accommodate students who prefer to participate in-person, remotely, or in a hybrid arrangement.  To accommodate these multiple formats, some elements from the 2020 & 2021 remote program format will be merged with elements from the in-person program model.  As a result, below are details about the summer 2022 Engage Chicago program model.


The program remains an eight-week summer program, offered for a baseline of two course credits, consisting of multiple, complementary components designed to create a powerful, dynamic learning experience for students.


Program dates are Tuesday, June 21Friday, August 12, with a brief orientation session in the days immediately preceding the program (orientation details will be sent to students in late April/early May).



Meets Tuesday afternoons 1:00pm-3:00pm (CDT)  (2 hours/week)

This weekly class is the foundational academic component of the program. The course will be taught Liz McCabe, the lead instructor for Chicago Field Studies. Class will meet synchronously via Zoom. (Requests for asynchronous options will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

Consistent with Engage Chicago’s pedagogical approach, the class will use Chicago as a lens through which to view a range of interlocking social issues, civic questions, and approaches to creating a more just and livable world. This summer, we will foreground systemic inequities and concerns that a global pandemic, social and political division, and international conflict have laid bare and exacerbated, especially topics pertaining to healthcare, housing, labor, education, and incarceration. Using an array of interdisciplinary materials (articles, artworks, films, podcasts, and more), we’ll explore Chicago, its complex history, and its dynamic present, as well as its crucial, long-standing role in international struggles for social justice.

Most importantly, we will talk with Chicagoans. We’ll hear from doctors, lawyers, community organizers, urban planners, elected representatives, school teachers, non-profit administrators, artists, parents, neighbors, scholars, and more—people who have shaped the city, who are fighting for its communities right now, and who are trying to build a sustainable future for us all.

Course assignments will take various forms—likely including discussion boards, short reflection papers, and research projects.


Students will work the equivalent of two days per week – or roughly 16 hours – to be scheduled flexibly based on organizational needs and student availability. (~16 hours/week)

While domestic and global crises have limited opportunities for in-person work over the past few years, these challenges have made the services of nonprofit and public service organizations more critical than ever. At the same time, the needs and capacities of these organizations vary widely right now.

As such, Engage Chicago is working with our nonprofit partners to coordinate a wide range of work opportunities and special projects – some of which can be done remotely, some in person, and some through a hybrid arrangement. These placements will be assigned by Engage Chicago advisors in collaboration with students and community partners, based on their respective interests, community needs, and the capacity of organizational partners to support meaningful work.

This component will equate to roughly two days a week (or approximately 15-16 hours each week) of community-based work. Schedules will vary widely, and will be negotiated between students, community partners, and Engage Chicago advisors. (For example, some students may be able to arrange for two full workdays a week, if they prefer. Others may be able to arrange work for shorter shifts over several days.)


Offered 1-3 times each week (~1-1.5 hours each, students must attend at least five sessions over the course of the summer)

Throughout the summer, a series of Spotlight Sessions will allow students to go deeper into course topics, explore career possibilities, and meet more Chicagoans!

Based on positive feedback from participants over the past two summers, rather than offering the traditional “Concentration” component from the in-person Engage Chicago model, the remote Spotlight Session series will combine a wider variety of topics and themes – including a heavy emphasis on a series of events relating to each of the traditional concentration themes (health & medicine, law & advocacy, urban planning, community organizing, and nonprofit management) – offering students the flexibility to follow their own interests while engaging with a wide range of experts and community members, as they so choose.

A “typical” Spotlight Session could involve a public health official explaining the longer-term, neighborhood-specific impacts of COVID-19, a lawyer describing the ins and outs of working on immigration and refugee cases during a global conflict, a panel of community organizers workshopping student ideas for social change, a hosted film screening, or… Spotlight Sessions will take many forms.

Spotlight Sessions will take place synchronously to foster connections between students and speakers, but dates and times will vary to create more flexible access. Students will be required to participate in at least five Spotlight Sessions over the course of the summer, but are welcome to attend as many as they like.


Meets Friday afternoons, 1-2:30pm (CDT)  (1.5 hours/week)

As usual, the program will include a weekly small-group Discussion Section to help students explore connections, challenges, and possibilities that emerge across program components and students’ varied experiences throughout the summer. We think that opportunities for students to connect with instructors, staff, and—especially—one another are more important than ever. As a result, these sections will be kept small with an extra effort made to emphasize personal student connection.  There will be both in person and remote sections to accommodate students’ format preferences this summer.


For students who prefer to participate in person this summer, program-sponsored housing options will be provided at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) in downtown Chicago.  In addition, given the flexibility of the 2022 model, the program will also be able to accommodate fully remote, commuter, and/or hybrid students who may prefer to participate from an existing local housing space (such as a campus apartment, permanent residence, etc.).

The centrally-located SAIC housing will provide students with a fantastic, centrally-located home base for the duration of the program. The site (also home to the Gene Siskel Film Center) is steps away from each of Chicago’s CTA train lines, and within walking distance of the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, and the Museum Campus. The rooms are loft-style studio apartments, with high ceilings, track lighting, and large “Chicago-style” windows that offer expansive views of the city. And each room comes with a private bathroom, private kitchenette, wireless internet, and air conditioning.  Rates for the entire 8-week program are as follows:

SAIC Double Room: $2,800
SAIC Single Room: $3,800

Students choosing EC-sponsored housing will be able to start registering for housing starting in mid-May.


Contact an Engage Chicago advisor at:


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Participate in-person or remotely (1/15/22)

The 2022 Engage Chicago program is planning to accommodate both students who would like an in-person experience as well as students who would like to participate remotely this coming summer.

For students who would like to participate in person, the program will work with students to provide local housing and arrange for an in-person internship experience.  Regular, weekly class meetings will remain online for summer 2022 to accommodate this range of student modalities, as well as the program’s many guest speakers. However, for students who choose to participate in person, there will also be periodic, weekly social and enrichment activities offered to take advantage of in-person participants’ access to the city.

That said, Engage Chicago has just completed two very successful years of remote programming, so the program remains committed to also accommodating students who would prefer to participate remotely in summer 2022 with a comprehensive program experience. In addition to online course meetings, remote students will be matched with remote internship opportunities. Also, periodic social and enrichment opportunities will also be offered online to encourage community-building with the broader cohort – and in an effort to bring some Chicago-specific resources to life for remote participants.

Please note, there will also be a brief orientation program for all students in the days before the regular program cycle begins. Planning is underway for both remote and in-person options for the orientation program as well.

Students will discuss in-person and remote options with their EC advisor during the placement process, and will have time to decide which modality they prefer before the summer program begins. More details about deadlines, housing options, and finalized details about each program component will be announced and posted on this page in spring quarter.