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 2023 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 a vital area 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 funding from the HRI, 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 applications.
Eligibility and preference
- Applicants must be undergraduate students in good standing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (regardless of citizenship status).
- Students must have a declared 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.
- 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
- Parent of dependent children under the age of 18
- Students who have completed the program are welcome to apply, but preference is given to new applicants.
- 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 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 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)
Applications open in Spring 2024
- The application period for the Humanities in Action program is open February 6 – March 5.
- 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 has your humanities education prepared you to understand and address the complex needs of our community? How can service and community engagement help put the humanities into action? (500 words maximum)
- Long-term community engagement is built upon collaboration and partnership, which involves juggling busy schedules, competing priorities, and commitments. Describe a time you managed multiple deadlines and commitments successfully. How did you prioritize responsibilities, and how will you draw on this experience as a Humanities in Action Scholar? (300 words maximum)
- Financial barriers prevent many students from taking advantage of unpaid community engagement opportunities. How would the HIA program stipend enable you to participate in community engagement opportunities that otherwise may not be accessible to you? (300 words maximum)
- For past Humanities in Action Scholars only. Students applying to return to the program must answer this question. Why do you want to return as a Humanities in Action Scholar? How would an additional semester of support further develop your understanding of the Champaign-Urbana community, its needs, and its assets? (300 words maximum)