Learn About CSJ
The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service (CSJ) is a hub at Georgetown University through which students, faculty, and staff engage in Washington, DC through activism, advocacy, service, volunteerism, and community-based learning and research. Through CSJ, University community members also support social justice efforts across the United States and around the world, through service and immersion experiences, disaster relief fundraising, and engaged research and public service fellowships. Through all of its programs, CSJ endeavors to work alongside with community members and partners, engage thoughtfully in sustainable interventions, and affect short-term relief and long-term social change. CSJ acts as a catalyst for the infusion of social justice into the breadth of life of Georgetown in order to stimulate the full engagement of the University in this important work.
CSJ leans on a framework of social justice from Catholic Social Teaching as inspired by its founding Executive Director, Dr. Kathleen Maas Weigert: social justice is the “personal obligation and right of each of us, based on our talents and gifts, to make a contribution to the common good.” At the same time, a culture of social justice can flourish when society removes barriers so that each person can contribute fully to the common good and the betterment of that society.
CSJ attempts fully every day to live as an anti-racist institution, and intentionally grounds its practices, policies, and programs in racial equity and justice. For this work, we draw from University of San Francisco Professor of Law, Rhonda Magee (2019): “Racial justice cannot exist apart from the effort to alleviate the socially constructed, unevenly distributed suffering of all marginalized people, or what I would call ‘social justice.’ And social justice cannot exist apart from racial justice.”
CSJ draws significant inspiration in its work from Georgetown’s Jesuit values and mission statement, which declares: “Georgetown educates women and men to be reflective lifelong learners, to be responsible and active participants in civic life and to live generously in service to others.”
Through its programs and internal processes, CSJ attempts to model the society for which we strive – one built on social justice, care for the whole person, partnership, dialogue, and discernment. Given this commitment, CSJ observes and supports University policy in the following areas: the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and protection of human subjects in research; the Protection of Minors; international travel policy; fair and just employment; Bullying Prevention policy; and inclusion of all community members with diverse abilities, identities, and backgrounds.
CSJ stands as a bold testament of the responsibility that institutions of higher education have to better the human condition of all people and to contribute resources most effectively towards the common good. As a 225-year old University in the country’s capital, Georgetown asserts itself in this work of the head, heart, and hands, collaborating with communities from the local and the global spheres.
With these beliefs and this tradition as a foundation, CSJ ascribes to a model for its programming that: recognizes the assets of diverse partners; is student-led; is driven by community input; places special value on relationships; and acknowledges the intangible fruitfulness of its work beyond what is quantitatively measurable in outcomes. CSJ recognizes the significant global history of youth and students in the creation of a culture of peace and social justice, and adds to this movement by nurturing the discerning capacities of University graduates attuned to living social justice in unique ways.
Recognizing the power of networks and collaboration, CSJ contributes thoughtful participation and generous leadership to regional and national organizations that share a mission of social justice and participatory action. These include:
- Campus Compact, specifically Campus Compact Mid Atlantic (CCMA)
- The Research Universities Community Engagement Network (TRUCEN)
- Association of Jesuit Universities and Colleges (AJCU), specifically the JUHAN, Service Learning Professionals, and Justice in Higher Education conferences
- Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA)
- Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN)
- Place-based Network
CSJ is proud to have led the efforts towards the University’s recognition with the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2008 and 2015.
Community partners, students, faculty, alumni, staff, parents, and prospective applicants are welcomed to join the social justice conversation, action, and reflection to which CSJ contributes.