The education of students to be responsible citizens within our society constitutes a key
part of the University of Colorado’s educational mission. Because our democracy
requires citizens who have a sense of civic responsibility, the University of Colorado as
well as other educational institutions must embrace this educational role. For this reason,
we aspire to prepare citizens who have ethical standards and are civically engaged, as
well as to graduate professionally competent workers who can contribute to the economic
well being of our society.
The development of civic responsibility within students necessarily requires ethical and
civic learning. The issues a civically engaged citizen must address involve strong ethical
themes. Our students will inevitably face great challenges, many of which will have to be
addressed from a sound foundation of high ethical principles and strong commitment to
civic engagement, as befits a democratic form of government in a free society. Some of
those ethical and civic challenges are age-old: creation and distribution of wealth;
individual freedom vs. collective security; the social contract; war and peace. Others are
new: bioethical – genetic screening and cloning; perhaps reaching the human carrying
capacity of the earth; climate change; an ever shrinking globe and the myriad cultural and
nation-state interplays that produces and many others. We want our students to be leaders
in actively participating in efforts to deal with these issues and to do so from a strong
base of knowledge, understanding and personal integrity. The University of Colorado at
Boulder is positioned to provide this ethical and civic education.
In addition to more fully engaging the curricular and co-curricular offerings in the ethical
and civic development of our students, the campus needs to have a cadre of students who
embody the values and behaviors of an ethically and civically responsible citizenry. The
Puksta Scholars are this cadre of student leaders. For these students, the campus and
communities are laboratories for learning and practicing socially responsible behavior.
These students serve as a catalyst for bringing about positive change in the campus
culture and in our local communities, while acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes and
experiences necessary for responsible citizenship upon graduation. What they experience
and practice in their classes, in their residence halls, in their student organizations,
volunteering in a homeless shelter, in bridging disparate groups, and/or in teaching
underprivileged youth will be encouraged and supported by faculty and staff who serve
as mentors and instructors. The ethical and societal issues with which they grapple in
their courses or in conversations will have a broader meaning because of their exposure
to the challenges facing our society.
Puksta Program Description
Puksta Scholars will be engaged in a rich, stimulating and important program of civic
engagement. They will serve as models of civic and social responsibility promoting
positive change within our communities. The work of the Puksta Scholars will effectively
integrate learning in and outside the classroom resulting in an enhanced and illuminating
educational experience and responsible citizenship. The Puksta Scholars is one of the
university’s “Special Enhancement Opportunities Programs.”
Each scholar must develop a year long intensive civic engagement project. While doing
so, they are supported by an experienced team of faculty/staff, other scholars and an
enriching program of seminars, speakers, service projects and opportunities to collaborate
and share insights.
What is Civic Engagement?
Civic engagement is defined as:
Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public
concern. Civic Engagement can take many forms, from individual volunteerism to
organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly
address an issue, work with others in a community to solve a problem or interact with the
institutions of representative democracy.
Pew Charitable Trusts
Puksta Program Requirements
Within the context of the definition of civic engagement, Puksta Scholars are expected to:
1. Actively participate in public service and contribute to the common good.
2. Undertake a project that is significant in scope and devote considerable time and
effort to their civic engagement work. Scholars are required to spend an average
of 6-8 hours per week on their Puksta project, which includes planning and
preparation time.
3. Demonstrate leadership and initiative in developing, implementing and evaluating
their civic engagement project.
4. Attend Puksta events and meetings and submit required project plan and reports.
Puksta Application Process
Students who will be considered for this scholarship will be those who have exhibited an
interest and commitment to their own ethical and civic development and who show
promise for the future. They must be people with strong academic goals, who want to
further develop their knowledge and skills, be role models for others, and bring about
positive change within our campus and society. Please note that this scholarship is
available to incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors. It is not available to
incoming seniors.
To apply for this scholarship, students must submit a Puksta Scholars application and
four essays as described in the application by January 31, 2014. There will be a limited
number of $4,500 scholarships, which may be renewable based upon available funding
and successful completion of program requirements.