While many college students will be relaxing at home in early January, earning a few extra dollars at part-time jobs or watching their favorite football team on television, a select few will volunteer to help others and educate themselves.p. Between January 2-9, 260 Notre Dame students will participate in the University’s Church and Social Action Seminar, colloquially known as Urban Plunge, at 70 sites in 50 cities nationwide. Chicago, the site of the first Urban Plunge 30 years ago, will host 50 students, the largest single contingent.p. Approximately 15 percent of the students in each graduating class participate in the seminar at least once during their years at Notre Dame. The experience has become an important tradition at the University, with more than 3,000 students having participated to date. The popularity of the program has brought national attention, and it has served as a model for many other colleges and universities.p. The Urban Plunge is a 48-hour educational experience in which students interact with individuals, agencies and parishes that are striving to meet the many needs of the poor. For students who reside in suburban or rural America, the seminar provides an excellent opportunity to combine notions of urban life with hands-on experience.p. The agenda for each site is set by the hosts in the city, so students return to campus having acquired many different perspectives on life in cities. An orientation workshop and readings from various sources enhance the learning experience.p. To place the large number of student participants, the Center for Social Concerns works with contacts at each site. Alumni provide opportunities for discussion during the immersion experience, and Notre Dame faculty host follow-up sessions to facilitate further discussion and reflection. The seminar experience often prompts further academic investigation into the root causes of poverty, injustice and urban concerns, as well as exploration of potential solutions.p. *For more information, contact Rodney Cohen, director of urban programming and outreach development in the Center for Social Concerns, at (219) 631-5293.p.