A Message from the CU Team

May 18, 2021

Over the past few years, the CU ecosystem has grown into a powerful and purposeful coast-to-coast community, with new pockets of civic spirit and action springing up from Miami to Wichita to San Diego.

As we are about to kick off three of our programs over the next few months—and add two new staff to our team!—we wanted to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re headed. We invite each of you to put down some roots in the CU garden as we each help our nation grow into the thriving democracy it can be. (Take a look at our programs and job postings.)

In the past few years, hundreds of new people have come into the fold like Steve Smith who is leading Civic Saturdays through Civic Nebraska, Adrian McConnell who is starting a Citizen Redefined group for high school students in Texas, and Claire Ong who is planting “little libraries” across Washington for her Youth Collaboratory power project. The work of building a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship—creating norms, habits, and ways of being together that spark civic action and responsibility taking—it takes all of us, in each of our corners around the country, digging in. Like Steve, Adrian, and Claire.

It’s not always easy. While building culture doesn’t happen overnight, we find hope in ongoing and emerging civic activity across the nation. Perhaps you are seeing examples of this in your own hometown. Of people working to take stock of their power, right where they are, and using it to build stronger civic communities and ignite civic faith. Of people raising their hands and stepping up to the plate for the betterment of all, even when the next steps are uncertain.

Citizen University is the place where these kinds of people connect and fortify one another. To gather ideas, to build skills, to lean on each other, to realize they are not alone—that you are not alone. We’re dedicated to creating spaces for civic learning, support, and camaraderie for Americans across the nation.

A Civic Saturday Fellow in a recent cohort said it best: “This reminds me of being the lion in The Wizard of Oz. The guy always had the courage, he just needed the environment to remind him of that. CU, my fellows and my friends, you reminded me of that.”

We are facing extraordinary challenges as a country, challenges that require strong citizens who are steeped in a sense of civic character, educated in the tools of civic power, and are problem-solving contributors in their communities. Each of us can, and must, be this kind of problem solving citizen!

This moment has revealed the urgent need for our work. And we are here to meet it.

We are currently hiring for two new positions, including a Program Manager to lead our new and growing Local Civic Collaboratory program. We’ve had over 100 people have told us they want to start a Citizen Redefined group to lead high schoolers through the process of moral formation. Our Civic Saturday Fellowship and Youth Collaboratory networks are getting stronger by the day. We’re teaming up with national coalitions to foster civic renewal and strengthen democracy at a large scale. We’re ready to band together with people around the nation to build a civic culture in which we all play a part, we all have a role.

If you’ve been looking for the right time to join in, this is it.

Whether you’re a long time member of the Citizen University ecosystem—or a future member of the team who we haven’t met yet—we could not be more proud to be doing this necessary work alongside you for our country, for our communities, and for each other.

Join one of our programs, apply for a job, join our email list, and keep on living like a citizen!

~ Kayla DeMonte, Managing Director, on behalf of the CU team