Humanities in Action

The University of Illinois Humanities in Action program provides support to undergraduate humanities students (regardless of citizenship status) who are interested in pursuing community engagement opportunities within the Champaign-Urbana community. Meet the 2022 Humanities in Action Scholars. 

We CU Community Engaged Scholars, with support from the Humanities Research Institute (HRI), has launched a semester-long community engagement program for humanities students at the University of Illinois. Humanities in Action Scholars will learn to apply their humanities training in new ways while addressing vital areas of need in our Champaign-Urbana community.

Humanities in Action is intended to help remove some of the financial barriers that prevent humanities students from taking advantage of community engagement opportunities. Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Dan Shin, students will receive $1,000 to support their participation in the program. They will connect with like-minded peers, participate in workshops, and have access to mini grants to offset costs associated with their service activities. Participants will also become acquainted with HRI and the opportunities available to students studying humanities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the culmination of the program, participants will learn how to communicate this experience in resumes and job interviews.

Eligibility and preference

  • Applicants must be undergraduate students in good standing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (regardless of citizenship status).
  • Students must be pursuing a major or minor in the humanities. The humanities encompass fields of study related to society, culture, and the human experience in its past, present, and future forms. Above all, students in the humanities aim to understand the human dimensions of any problem, idea, or conviction and the impact of systems, processes, or beliefs on human culture and society. Humanities disciplines include, but are not limited to, history, languages, literature, philosophy, and religion, as well as interdisciplinary studies such as African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American studies, Latina/o studies, women & gender studies, and cinema studies.

    • If your major falls outside of the humanities and you are pursuing a minor in the humanities, you will be asked to explain how a humanities minor has helped you comprehend and question the human dimensions of your major field?

  • Preference is given to students from underrepresented backgrounds, and to those whose background reflects the communities their project serves, 

    including, but not limited to:

    • Identifies with a community (or communities) of color
    • Identifies with LGBTQIA community
    • First-generation college student
    • Low-income
    • Parent of dependent children under the age of 18

Program requirements

  • Selected applicants will contribute to projects that meet a vital area of need of the Champaign-Urbana community.
  • Participants will spend about 4 hours per week in program activities over the course of the Fall 2022 semester
  • They will receive training, connection to like-minded peers, and mini grants to offset any other costs associated with their service activities. 
  • Participants will also become acquainted with the Humanities Research Institute and the opportunities available to students studying humanities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • At the culmination of the program, participants will learn how to communicate this experience in resumes and job applications.
  • Students will attend group meetings, training, and a recognition ceremony at the end of the 2022–23 academic year. 

Coverage for expenses

  • Scholars will receive a $1,000 stipend to offset the cost of housing and/or other living expenses during the program.
  • Scholars are also eligible to receive mini-grants to offset any service-related costs (e.g., for materials or supplies) 

Application Process

  • The application period for the Humanities in Action program is open March 3 – April 3.
  • Students will provide some basic demographic info, a copy of their web academic history (unofficial transcript), and responses to three questions. 
  • Applicants may respond to the following questions in writing or by recording short video responses to each prompt: 
      • How will service and public engagement broaden your understanding of our community’s needs? What do you hope to learn about the social, economic, political, and educational systems perpetuating those needs? (500 words or 3–5 minutes)
      • How would this community engagement experience contribute to your learning, skills development, and career readiness at the University of Illinois? (300 words or 2–3 minutes)
      • We CU and the Humanities Research Institute are dedicated to helping students make a positive impact, grow, and gain the benefits associated with community engagement. Please write a brief statement about how this financial aid would enable you to participate in unpaid community engagement opportunities that may not otherwise be accessible to you. (300 words or 2–3 minutes)
  • Awardees will be notified of acceptance on May 6.

Get updates for the Humanities in Action Program

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2022 cohort of the Humanities in Action program. For news about future opportunities, sign up for the We CU mailing list.