Civic-minded students who may be forced to choose between paid jobs and unpaid positions at not-for-profits now have another option- the University of Miami Service Fellowship Program.
Created by senior Jennifer Safstrom, the program offers students the opportunity to be compensated for their work with not-for-profit and civic organizations. It will initially be launched with five student “fellows” as a summer program.
“Often students run into the financial difficulty of having to choose between a paid internship and an unpaid job that would be of direct help to the individuals in the community,” Safstrom said.
Each fellow will receive a $2,500 stipend that can be used toward their personal costs. They will also be able to choose which organization they work for.
“Students are really able to find their own placement and use this fellowship toward their own interests,” Safstrom said. “We want them to target the organization they are most passionate about.”
This project was inspired by the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center at UM School of Law, which allows law students to experience public interest opportunities such as integrating pro bono cases into a job or working in the public sector.
“I saw the tangible impacts that it had on both the students in terms of the quality of their experience, the importance of having that support system to do what they were doing, but also on a community level,” Safstrom said.
The details of the program were worked out when Safstrom participated in the Clinton Global Initiative University as a delegate.
For Safstrom, this is a very personal project.
“It’s something I really found the need for on a personal level,” she said. “I have always been very committed to not only community service, but to something that creates a long-lasting and sustainable change.”
Starting next year, after Safstrom graduates, sophomore Andryk Guerrero will take over the project.
“I got involved because we could do something good for our society and surrounding community,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero hopes to expand the program and to attract “the best and the brightest.”
“I plan to make it a cycle,” Guerrero said. “I want for the fellows from the summer to make their own initiative. We want to think five, 10 years down the road, to follow the initiative.”
Students interested in applying can contact Safstrom at email@example.com or attend one of the information sessions listed below.
Alysha Khan may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UM Service Fellowship Program Information Sessions
All will take place in UC 237
– Thursday, 12.30 p.m.
– Feb 2., 6.30 p.m.
– Feb 7., 1 p.m.
– Feb. 10, 7 p.m.
– Feb. 15., 5 p.m.