Common Grounds

Become a Member

Common Grounds recruits and selects graduate students from across the University of Minnesota each fall.  This short application, reviewed by the steering committee, is due in the beginning of September of each academic year (September 19th for the 2016-2017 year).  We hope you consider joining us!


Joining Common Grounds means committing to complete one consulting project and being involved on an ongoing basis for the group by participating in various group events during the year. There are also opportunities for group leadership outside of the steering committee. If you have a desire to contribute beyond the consulting project, please contact a steering committee member as group needs and initiatives may differ from year to year.

Consulting Project

The central activity of the Common Grounds year is the consulting project.  All members work with a small team on one tightly-scoped capacity building consulting project for a community organization during the first eight weeks of the spring semester.  While the project is underway, members prepare to spend five hours per week on the project.  During the fall, these projects are sourced and scoped by the project leaders, after which team members have the opportunity to self select into the different projects.  Preparation will be done in the second half of the fall semester to projects to begin with clear direction at the start of the spring semester.

Leadership Tasks

There are several opportunities for students to fill leadership positions within Common Grounds. Most of these tasks can be done individually or in small groups.  Possibilities include becoming one of the project leads for a consulting project; organizing a speaker or panel event; supporting social networking functions; contributing to management of past and future client relationships; helping organize an alumni happy hour; and of course steering committee positions become available as students graduate.  Other suggestions are also welcome.  Common Grounds’ priorities and direction are designed to change with new classes and group interest.  If you are interested in any of the potential leadership opportunities, please reach out to a steering committee member to help us understand where you would most enjoy working and where we may need the most assistance.

Ongoing Participation

We understand that graduate student schedules are as varied as they are busy, so we understand if you cannot make all activities.  However, Common Grounds is a special community that is built only through personal interaction.  We ask members to participate regularly in group events throughout the year.  We want to provide you with both the necessary experiences to learn about consulting work and community service, but also provide you with a network of people with similar interests that can be a resource for you long after graduation.  The only way to do that is by continually participating and contributing.


It’s simple and fast.  Complete and submit our short application by September 19, 2016 at 11:59 PM. Before then, consider reaching out to one of our steering committee members to introduce yourself and ask any questions you might have.


For returning members of Common Grounds, please complete the brief application if you are interested in continuing your membership. If you are a returning member, you are guaranteed a spot in the group again this year.

"Common Grounds recruits engaged, committed members. The Common Grounds steering committee each year selects students to fill open positions on the team. We are looking for unique experience and forceful, creative ideas that will add value to Common Grounds."