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Change the world, live your dream

Do you dream of changing the world? The Justice Houses at Niagara University empower students to live their dream. In the Justice Houses, students interested in social justice, Earth and the environment, or legal advocacy and justice, live, learn, and work together, engaging in projects and activities across Niagara’s campus and beyond.

The Justice Houses Mission

Our mission is to create a true living and learning community centered on the pursuit of justice; to critically examine the meaning of justice and its denial; to impart knowledge of struggles for justice, past and present; to illuminate the intersection and interconnectedness of justice struggles across contexts and levels of human interaction; to provide models and tools that will empower students to achieve their goals; to build a just community premised on equality, cooperation, and other shared values; to inspire the members of our community to pursue their vocations as advocates for justice.

Empowering students, building community

The Justice Houses are a living and learning community, empowering a select group of students to connect their passion for (a) Earth and the environment, (b) social justice, or (c) legal advocacy and justice to their life on campus—spanning the academic, residential, and social dimensions of the college experience. Students in the Justice Houses live and work together with classmates who share their passions, engaging in projects and activities that build connections across our campus and beyond. Students in the Justice Houses have unique access to peer mentors—advanced students (juniors and seniors) who share their knowledge and experience—as well as faculty advisors who serve as academic mentors and plan a wide range of trips, activities, and events for students in the Houses.

A transformational college experience

The Justice Houses are open to students from all majors (including AEP) in each of Niagara University’s colleges. Students in the Justice Houses gain interdisciplinary knowledge, diverse skills, and real-world experience that is relevant to multiple disciplines and fields. Faculty and student mentors provide vital support, and immersive hands-on learning promotes each student’s academic, professional, and personal growth. From classroom to extracurricular activities to the unique residential community, this holistic experience will engage, inspire, and promote student success.

The Justice Houses also offer connections to cutting-edge initiatives and programs on campus, including:

  • Student internships and research projects at the United Nations (NU–UN Partnership)
  • Disaster relief trips and a credential in International Humanitarian Assistance
  • The Pre-Law Advisement Program’s Public Interest Track, featuring internships, shadowing, and hands-on research
  • VIP access to nationally recognized leaders and scholars in our Social Justice Speaker Series and Film Series

Shared values

Centered in Niagara University’s Vincentian mission, the Justice Houses are founded on a set of core principles and philosophical ideals that bind us as members and residents, and inform our behavior. These are aspirational, and serve as the basis of envisioning an on- and off- campus community that is unified and cooperative. They guide our actions and inspire our choices. Each year students in the Justice Houses come together to reimagine and reaffirm the Justice Houses Shared Statement of Values, a living document created by students to articulate the community’s ideals, principles, and standards. 

The benefits of a living and learning community

Recent national studies have emphasized the extraordinary potential for living and learning communities to positively impact student success in college:

  • Students perform better in class
  • They feel more connected to their peers
  • They connect with the faculty and the university
  • They are more likely to stay in college

In the Justice Houses Living and Learning Community we have enhanced these benefits by establishing core courses that give students the tools needed to succeed in college and provide a platform for pursuing justice on campus and in the community. What’s more, the faculty advisors and peer mentors in the Justice Houses sponsor a broad array of activities, trips, and events at no extra cost to students. Students in the Justice Houses can enhance their college experience by traveling with faculty and peers to attend talks and participate in conferences, taking part in field trips and experiential learning opportunities, joining reading groups and film discussions, enjoying group dinners, study breaks, and nature hikes, and much, much more.

Inclusion and engagement

The potential for student engagement through the Justice Houses Living and Learning Community is national and global in scope. In 2021-2022, faculty-led trips are being planned to the United Nations, to meet with leaders and advocates in New York City and Chicago, to learn about justice initiatives at Niagara’s sister institutions—St. John’s University in New York and DePaul University in Chicago—and to visit historically significant sites where justice struggles have succeeded. These transformational experiences are free to students in the Justice Houses.

Because we’re committed to justice for everyone, we’ve made the Justice Houses the least expensive housing on Niagara University’s campus. The Justice Houses are located in historic and picturesque Varsity Village at the center of campus. These Tudor-style houses each have six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room (with TV), full kitchen, washer and dryer, and outside patio with picnic tables. The Justice Houses also feature a library of books and movies provided by the faculty advisors and peer mentors.

How to apply

Students can apply to join the Justice Houses here. The entire process takes just a few minutes.

Contact us

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please e-mail us at justicehouses@niagara.edu. Thank you!

  David A. Reilly, Ph.D
  Kevin A. Hinkley, J.D.
  Justice Houses Faculty Co-Directors

Justice in Action

Students in Justice in Action go beyond the classroom to prepare a campaign focused on sustainability and environmental justice.