The Esther Madríz Diversity Scholars (EMDS) Living Learning Community is on hiatus for 2023-2024. We invite you to check back next fall for future plans for the 2024-2025 school year.

Crossing Borders and Discovering Home

Explore issues of diversity, inequality, social justice, and social change. To do so, you'll draw upon the idea of "crossing borders and discovering home." For us, borders refer to real and imagined boundaries placed around us as individuals, and as members of various communities. Named after the late Esther Madríz, beloved USF professor of sociology who embodied the Ignatian ideals of education of the whole person as a means toward social justice, EMDS examine and challenge these boundaries to gain a fuller understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Chaniece Jefferson
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Live and Learn Together

students smiling together at an event

Connect with the Community

Create a public art exhibit on Gleeson Lawn. Bring local middle school students to USF. Organize a “Rock the Vote” event on campus. Over the course of the year, you'll create social change projects that apply classroom learning to real life issues. You'll provide service as needed by our community partner, as well as act as a participant researcher, gathering data to help inform their understanding of the causes and consequences of social problems, activism, and social change.

Ryan Lopez

Fulfill Your Core Requirements

During the academic year, you'll take two classes — Social Problems and Community Organizing — that fulfill three graduation requirements: cultural diversity (CD), social science core (Area E), and community-engaged learning (Core CEL). You are required to enroll in EMDS courses for both fall and spring semesters.

Front view of Toler Residence Hall

Live Together in Toler Hall

Successful applicants will live in the designated space for EMDS in Toler Residence Hall. You must apply to SHARE for housing by posted deadlines early in the spring semester.

Take a Travel-Study Trip

The transborder travel experience takes place during winter intersession. We intentionally travel to two locations and examine social problems from different perspectives. This experience provides an opportunity for us to “cross a border” before the end of the program. During each trip, you'll meet with scholars, student leaders, community leaders, and activists to learn how to work as allies, as well as how to utilize various social change strategies.

student taking notes while standing outside at Quicksilver County Park
Keyaira Lock

Keyaira Lock ’14

We had the opportunity to travel to the Bronx and to France, which was one of the most impactful events of my adult life. I wholeheartedly attribute our immersion trip to a fundamental shift in my life that pushed me to focus on positivity, health, and social justice."

Keyaira Lock ’14

Attend Our Events

group of students smiling together at an event

Fall Retreat

Kick off the fall semester with a weekend retreat. You'll learn about Esther’s legacy, reflect on your identity, and engage in dialogue around living and learning as a community of leaders. We will play, laugh, and develop bonds that will sustain the community over the coming year.

Indian students welcome reception


Attend weekly community gatherings, or karamus. Karamus are an opportunity to process what you are learning in the classroom as well as work together to organize fundraising and community service activities. You'll also attend off campus educational and cultural events.

Students talk while eating.

Esther Madríz Dinner

The annual Esther Madríz dinner honors the memory of Dr. Esther Madriz, vivacious teacher, social activist, and esteemed colleague. In honoring her life, the dinner also highlights her legacy, and how EMDS students share her commitment to social justice and exemplify Esther’s spectacular gifts to USF and the world.

Esther Madríz Diversity Scholars

Kathleen Coll