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Chicago Program: Arts, Entrepreneurship, & Social Justice

Chicago, Illinois

Independent Study Project (ISP)

Students in the Chicago Program pursue an Independent Study Project (ISP) related to their academic and professional goals.  Ideally, these will be projects that draw on the city’s resources to create something original, such as a research paper, a service project, a work of art, or a feasibility analysis for a business.  For the first half of the program, students will meet regularly in their ISP groups to develop skills and exposure to practicioners in the city.  Students may also find ways to link their ISP with their internship.  All students will share their final products at the end of the program. (Note: The spring trimester options do not include an independent study project.)

Independent Study Projects may be related to almost any academic area.  Many students have projects that relate more closely to the three seminar topics—Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Urban Studies.  Here are examples of some recent projects in those areas:

Chicago Program: Arts, Entrepreneurship, & Social Justice

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Sarah Stanciu I have lived in Chicago all my life, but have never lived on the South side of the city. During the Urban Studies program, I remember the first time I broke my own stereotype of the South side of Chicago. It was one day when I saw a homeless woman living under the most beautiful bridge reading "The Life of Malcolm X." I went up to her and offered her some groceries I had just picked up for myself. She politely refused and proceeded to offer me a piece of chocolate from her bag as she sat me down on her jacket to read me a quote from her book. It was then I was reminded how people are not a color, a history, a reputation, a race, or a news brief. People are just human, and looking at the mural under the bridge with her, she told me she put her initials on the wall and the date she came there to live. That moment with her lasted just five minutes, but it will stick with me forever. Everyone has a mark in the world; it all depends on where you leave it. She still stays there each time I pass by. This is what Urban Studies means.

—Sarah Stanciu, Chicago Program (Urban Studies), Spring 2010

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Who we are

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) is a consortium of independent, liberal arts colleges in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado.