Engage Chicago adds Law and Advocacy concentration

Jonathan Li, Reporter

The Center for Civic Engagement has added a new Law and Advocacy concentration to its Engage Chicago summer program.

Engage Chicago is an eight-week, two credit program during which students take a weekly seminar and complete an internship in Chicago. In the past, there was only a Health and Medicine concentration offered.

The program was initially created through the Chicago Field Studies department to give students more opportunities to learn in Chicago, said Robert Donahue, the associate director for the Center for Civic Engagement. However, it soon turned its focus to the application of specific disciplines in the real world setting.

Donahue said the goal of the Law and Advocacy concentration is to show students how law and advocacy intersect with social change and community development in Chicago. He said this is something that can be better taught through full immersion rather than in the classroom.

“We don’t necessarily have a lot of opportunities in the undergraduate curriculum to get off campus and engage with the people doing this type of work,” Donahue said.

He said the concept of concentrations came about because the University Academic Advising Center identified an interest from students in the pre-law and pre-health fields.

Donahue encouraged anyone with an interest in law to apply. He said he aims to have around 30 to 40 students in the program this year.

“We get applicants like rising sophomores and juniors who are new to this. And they might be a history major who is interested in law and doesn’t want to make that the focus of their work, but they want to explore the whole range of opportunities that are out there in a legal related field to decide what they want to do,” he said.

Now in its fifth year, Engage Chicago has seen a rapid increase in applications from 30 its first year to 118 last year.

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