The Social Justice Grounding Retreat is made up of roughly 25 participants (both undergraduate and graduate students) and a team of 5-10 facilitators. Selected each fall semester, participants are expected to participate in all retreat prep meetings in early December and January.

Important Dates

  • It is mandatory that ALL participants attend the pre-gathering (check back soon for exact dates)
  • It is mandatory that ALL participants attend the retreat from beginning to end

Roles and Expectations

It is expected that participants will:

  • Remain mentally and emotionally engaged throughout the retreat.
  • Have a willingness to be open to discussion and learning from everyone involved.
  • Agree to keep confidentiality.

How to Apply

Participant applications are due by Monday, December 6th, 2021 by 11:59 PM

After you submit your application, a small team composed of retreat alumni, partners, and the advisory committee, will review applications and make selections for this year's retreat.

Apply to be a Social Justice Grounding Retreat Participant →



Retreat facilitators are the team, the glue, that holds the retreat together and makes it work. The Social Justice Grounding Retreat is a model based largely on small group work, with each group led by a pair of facilitators. As a facilitator, you will have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of undergraduate and graduate students while supporting and challenging them in a SAFE environment.

If you feel facilitating is not the right fit for you, and you are an undergraduate or graduate student, we encourage you consider applying to be a participant instead.

Important Dates

  • Retreat Dates - February 11-13, 2022; Transportation, lodging, meals, and retreat materials will be provided.
  • Required "Training for Trainers" (TOT) Institute - TBA (check back soon) in the Dudley H. Davis Center.
  • All Pre-Retreat Session (all participants and facilitators) - TBA (check back soon

Requirements and/or Strong Recommendations

All members of the UVM community are invited to apply to facilitate: undergraduate, graduate, staff (exempt only), administrators and faculty. However, there are some requirements based on skill and experience that are important to consider:

  • The Social Justice Grounding Retreat (SJGR) is a significant time commitment and we ask that you consider this as you apply. The Advisory Committee (made up of graduate students, staff and faculty from across campus) and the Retreat Leadership team are very confident that each facilitator leaves the SJGR experience with a whole range of new skills regarding training on social justice issues, managing student groups and conversations on a range of topics, and concrete training skills. With this in mind, we expect all facilitators to spend time before and after the retreat in training and assessment for the retreat.
  • It is also important to know that facilitating the Social Justice Grounding Retreat is NOT an entry-level opportunity. We intentionally need members of the UVM community to apply who have prior social justice experience. In the past, this has included folks who are: retreat alumni, have attended or led diversity, multicultural, or social justice trainings, have experience facilitating groups on difficult topics, and/or significant study related to social justice issues.
  • The Social Justice Grounding Retreat is about representing, exploring, unpacking, noticing, and celebrating the diverse community that makes up UVM. We examine our diversity as a campus largely based on socially constructed identities: race, sexuality, gender, class, national origin, ability, age, and many more. We therefore highly encourage you to tell us about yourself. Tell us about your many identities, what they mean to you, and/or how you feel your identities will add to the retreat experience

Skills & Facilitator Guidelines

We are diligent in making sure facilitators already have a certain set of skills regarding facilitation, group management, and an understanding of social justice work. The rest of the criteria for facilitators varies each year, but we generally look for:

  • A range of facilitator identities including race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, class, ability, class, age, and citizenship.
  • A balanced facilitation team: a mixture of breadth and depth of social justice experiences and knowledge
  • A mixture of leaders and adapters, challengers and supporters
  • Strong listening skills
  • Facilitation experience
  • Commitment to work on logistics tasks as well as facilitation
  • Allies to groups outside their own identity
  • People who are self-aware, can keep track of own behavior and hot buttons
  • Willingness to stay engaged during difficult conversations
  • Quality and effort put into the application

Note for UVM Faculty / Staff

Because non-exempt UVM employees are paid hourly, compensation requirements may make participation difficult without pre-approval by their supervisor.  Since this is a volunteer opportunity, most non-exempt staff can elect to be compensated using compensatory (comp) time for non-office hours.  Following the University procedure, all overtime or comprehensive time hours must be recorded in PeopleSoft.

Any agreement between you and your supervisor to participate in the Social Justice Grounding Retreat program should be documented in writing, with a signed copy submitted to the Civic Engagement Programs in the Department of Student Life after selection.

How to Apply

Facilitator applications are due by Monday, December 6th, 2021 by 11:59 PM. A valid UVM NetID and password are required to log-in to the UVM Clubs system and fill out the application. After you submit your application, a small team composed of retreat etreat alumni, partners, and the advisory committee, will review applications and make selections for this year's retreat.

Apply to be a Social Justice Grounding Retreat Facilitator (CHECK BACK SOON) →



Join the Selection Committee

If you have been involved in the Social Justice Grounding Retreat in the past as a participant or facilitator and would like to help craft this year's retreat experience - you can join the committee to help us select participants and/or facilitators. This involves reading applications ahead of time and participating in a committee meeting (typically 1.5 to 3 hours) to deliberate selections. Interested?  Contact us

Join the Leadership Team

This committee is responsible for guiding the overall retreat, editing and facilitating curriculum, and helping make the Social Justice Grounding Retreat an enriching, engaging, challenging and empowering experience for students. Tasks include reviewing evaluation data and applications for facilitators, writing/editing curriculum and participant materials, participating in the retreat trainings, facilitating portions of the retreat itself, and assisting with the assessment of the program.

At the retreat, members of the Leadership Team also serve as alternate facilitators and step in if a small group facilitator is unable to continue in their role, as well as assist in crisis response as needed and appropriate. Prior involvement with the Social Justice Grounding Retreat is highly encouraged, but not required. If you interested in additional information, please contact

Got Questions about Applying?

If after reviewing the information presented on this page you have any questions about applying to be a part of the Social Justice Grounding Retreat, please don't hesitate to contact Tatiana Havens, Graduate Assistant for Leadership & Civic Engagement for additional information.