Summer of Social Impact

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy will host the fifth annual Summer of Social Impact, its signature summer initiative designed to spark dialogue and engagement among policymakers, civic leaders, and researchers across public, private, and non-profit sectors as they examine new ideas and policy approaches to improve life in cities, from Chicago and beyond. Launched in 2017, the Summer of Social Impact has grown into a multimodal experience of events, storytelling, and other engagement opportunities.

This year’s initiative, entitled “ReTHINK: Policy and Prosperity for the Future of Cities,” will be anchored by three public events that examine the intertwined issues of health, education, and economy opportunity as American cities look to the post-COVID world. Through in-depth discussion on critical challenges and opportunities in these areas, Summer of Social Impact will explore the latest research and evidence-based policy reforms with the potential to reduce inequality and strengthen urban policies and systems. In addition to the three public events planned for 2021, Harris faculty will host a series of SSI Salons to convene scholars, practitioners, and partners across sectors for an in-depth discussion of current work and to further explore questions of equity on topics ranging from property tax reform to early childhood development and education.

Preventing a Post-COVID Housing Crisis in Chicago 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

5:00 PM – 6:15 PM CDT


Join Inclusive Economy Lab on June 30th for a conversation with partners from the Chicago Department of Housing and The Resurrection Project on their efforts to ensure that the COVID-19 health crisis does not result in a housing crisis for Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities. The conversation will explore the role of unrestricted cash and rental assistance programs and the innovative ways the Lab is supporting this work through research.

First-Response for Chicagoans Experiencing Addiction and Mental Health Crises

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

5:00pm CDT


Join Health Lab for a look into the challenges and innovations in first-response for Chicagoans. Cities across America are seeking safer and more effective ways to assist people experiencing addiction and mental health crises. Chicago is now piloting alternative first responses to improve prevention and follow-up, and to reduce the risks of violence or arrests in such encounters.

Personalized Education and the Great COVID Catch-Up

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

5:00pm-6:30pm CDT


Join the UChicago Education Lab and its non-profit partner, SAGA Education, as they share exciting new research on the effectiveness of Saga Education’s high-intensity tutoring model and the implications of these findings for American public schools in the context of the post-pandemic world.

 From our Partners


WBEZ 91.5 FM’s daily talk show Reset is joining forces with the University of Chicago’s Center for Effective Government based at the Harris School of Public Policy to present Re-Imagine Chicago. This new series, running May through August on WBEZ, will investigate how institutions and systems operate in Chicago today and how they might work better to better serve residents of Chicago in the future.

Learn More