Engage, Intern, & Study Abroad

Civic Engagement and Social Justice

  • At Lang, social justice is the ethical core of a liberal arts education. Students deepen their commitment to social justice both in and outside of seminar-style classes. In courses in which the city is the classroom, we partner with activists, artists, policymakers, and other community leaders across New York City to connect theory to practice. Many students in our social justice programs commit to creating change in their communities and beyond with the support of a dedicated community of peers, faculty, and staff.

    Civic engagement programs through CESJ

    Lang’s Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice (CESJ) is a hub that creates civic participation 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 programs, Lang students connect theoretical frameworks and the lived experience of working toward social justice and develop a practice of self-reflection. Current CESJ programs include:

    • The Jeff Gural Academic Achievement and Opportunity Scholars Program, a selective opportunity for students who demonstrate a significant commitment to civic participation and social justice before arriving at Lang. Over the four years of their Lang experience, Gural Scholars work closely in cohorts to develop community-based projects focused on social justice at the local, national, and international levels.
    • 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 will build 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 will build a culture of restorative justice and compassion that is essential to social justice work. This pilot project is 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.
    • Year-Round Discretionary Funding (“Mini-Grants”) and Summer Internship Grants, which allocate financial resources to students’ professional learning, activist initiatives, creative projects, and other community-based activities that address themes and take action toward social justice.