Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

Urban Immersion Leadership




Urban Immersion is an annual summer program coordinated by the CCL that introduces incoming students (both pre-freshmen and transfers) to the principles of civic leadership, critical service, and to the City of Houston with the guiding mission of fostering the growth of informed and passionate advocates for social justice. The program is planned and executed by a team of undergraduate coordinators and site leaders in collaboration with local community partners and under the guidance of CCL staff. The key elements of the program include education, community-based learning, critical service, and reflection.

  • Education: The student leadership team creates a curriculum that provides participants with a holistic overview of concepts of civic leadership and introduces various social issues relevant to Houston and the community partners they will meet throughout the week. Leaders will educate participants through pre-UI articles and videos, introductory workshops, and providing context to frame the daily community-based activities during the week of UI.
  • Community-based learning: A large part of each day of Urban Immersion is spent engaged with community partners and learning from their diverse perspectives and approaches to building equitable and inclusive communities within Houston. Student leaders will work with partners to curate these community-based (or community-engaged) learning experiences which can range from a presentation on an organzation's work, to a robust panel, to interactive workshops.
  • Critical Service: Some time spent in the community may be dedicated to service projects that are mutually agreed-upon by community partners and student leaders as beneficial to the organization and a learning expereince for UI participants. Service projects will ideally enhance the capacity of the community partner, build on existing assets of the community, and may be direct, indirect, or advocacy-driven.
  • Reflection: Each day of the program culminates in an intentional reflection of events, activities, and the greater implications that present themselves. It is the reflective component that allows all participants to identify and examine the beliefs and values that have shaped their own experience as well as the societal structures that have shaped our communities in both positive and negative ways. Reflection allows for authentic dialogue, questioning of the status quo, and challenges to traditional systems of power and privilege. The skill set built by these reflective strategies is paramount to leadership development and positive community engagement.



Due to high demand and positive feedback, the CCL will offer double the number of Urban Immersion sessions for summer 2019! Four sessions of 24 participants each will take place over the course of two separate weeks in July and the beginning of August. Each session will be facilitated by a three-student leadership team including one coordinator (a near-full time position) and two site leaders (part time remote work except for their active session). 

2019 Sessions One & Two Dates: Sunday, July 14 - Friday, July 19

2019 Session Three & Four Dates: Sunday July 28 - Friday, August 2

Lodging: Local church or community building. May vary by session.


The Urban Immersion leadership team has been restructured in order to successfully plan and implement more sessions of UI, resulting in exciting new leadership opportunities for students interested in varying levels of involvement with leading UI in summer 2019. Please read the job descriptions below carefully to consider the coordinator and site leader opportunities for which applications are open:

Coordinator Job Description

Hours: Coordinators will need to be in Houston for the duration of the position

  • 30 hrs/week May 6th-August 9th
  • Full time facilitation of two UI sessions, July 14-19 and July 28-August 2
  • Coordinator stipend will be $4,200 for the summer

Responsibilities: Coordinators will work together to plan all aspects of the Urban Immersion sessions, which they will implement with the support of two student site leaders each. This includes the following:

  • Design and schedule cohesive weeks of programming based on social issue foci of key partners. Sessions may be similar but need not be identical.
    • Communicate with key partners to schedule activities and initiate secondary partnerships as needed to plan coherent weeks of programming.
  • Design workshops for UI participants on key concepts such as the practices of civic leadership, critical vs. traditional service, and social justice 101: privilege, power, oppression, and identity.
  • Design and implement pre-UI communications to prime students for the experience including a pre-packet of logistical and education material.
  • All logistical duties necessary for UI including:
    • Recruitment and selection of participants
    • Coordinating housing and transportation plans
    • Creating itinerary for each session with community partners
    • Communicating with Site Leaders re: scheduling and expectations

Spring Training: In order to be prepared for the summer leadership position student coordinators will attend weekly training and meetings during the spring semester (one hour per week plus a one-time Saturday retreat) with CCL staff and student site leaders.

  • February 23rd full-day retreat
  • Weekly one-hour training meetings mid-February thru April


Site Leader Job Description

Hours: Site leaders may be located outside of Houston for the bulk of their hours, except for the Friday-Friday week of their UI session

  • 2 hrs/week May 20th-August 2nd (can be done remotely)
  • Full time facilitation of one UI session, either July 14-19 or July 28-August 2 (must be on site in Houston)
  • Site leader stipend will be $450 for the summer

Responsibilities: Prior to their UI session, site leaders will support CCL staff and student coordinators remotely with recruitment and planning. During the week of their UI session, site leaders and coordinators will work together to facilitate all aspects of the experience.

  • Remote work responsibilities:
    • Video conference into weekly check-in meetings with CCL staff and student coordinators to stay up to date on planning and offer input
    • Assist with publicity and recruitment for participants
    • Take lead on either food or transportation schedule for week-of UI
    • Work with coordinators to implement pre-trip curriculum and design/implement educational workshops during UI session
  • Week-of responsibilities: During the week of their session, site leaders will work with their designated coordinator as a three-person leadership team to facilitate the entire week. This includes:
    • Logistics—food, transportation, pick-ups/drop-offs, etc.
    • Facilitating reflection and workshops
    • Guiding participants through the week of programming

Spring Training: In order to be prepared for the summer leadership position student site leaders will attend bi-weekly training sessions during the spring semester (one hour every other week plus a one-time Saturday retreat) with CCL staff and student coordinators.

  • February 23rd full-day retreat
  • Bi-weekly one-hour training meetings mid-February thru April