A first year program for students interested in making a difference in their community and reflecting with peers on what it takes to lead a committed life.

Lives of Commitment provides a pathway for students to engage the Twin Cities, something that is needed now more than ever. In these unprecedented times, we are still unsure if we will be able to gather for a retreat before classes, and whether our engagement with the community will be in person or remote. With so much unfolding in the Twin Cities and around the world, having a community for continuous reflection and action will be important no matter the format! We hope you can commit to the spirit of LOC, even with the logistics still unfolding.

The application for LOC will go live May 19, and is due June 23, 2021.

Apply for the Lives of Commitment program

Lives of Commitment is for students wanting to get involved in the Twin Cities and build a strong community with other first years who are passionate about working for social change.  Students volunteer weekly in small groups teaching English to immigrants and refugees or tutoring a child. Participants gather regularly for meaningful dialogue about their community work, social justice and what is most important to them through group dinners and smaller reflection circles.

These 30 students work with six nonprofit organizations as part of a small group. The Lives of Commitment students, faculty/staff advisors and student leaders gather regularly for dinner from immigrant owned businesses, community site visits and reflection sessions on leading lives of commitment in our complex world. A pre-orientation retreat immerses students into both Minneapolis and St. Paul to help them become active and knowledgeable community members from day one. On the retreat, students visit immigrant communities and meet with community partners.  Students also spend time learning about each other’s experiences and commitments and building a strong and supportive community for the transition into college.

Involvement includes two-to three hours of weekly community engagement, active participation in monthly small and large group discussions and activities, and a strong motivation to explore one’s own identities, beliefs and values. The group meetings establish a space for reflection and community building. The open and welcoming nature of these spaces creates strong and lasting bonds among the participants.

This is a year-long commitment and is only open to incoming first year students. Applications will be assessed on one’s a) interest in reflecting more deeply on their own experiences; b) desire to build a supportive community of peers and c) curiosity to know more about the local community and an eagerness to get involved.

If you have questions or want more information, please contact Eily Marlow, Program Associate for Vocation and Reflection in the Civic Engagement Center at  or call 651-696-6738.