Application deadline is end of February

The Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative, which provides funding to open up public service opportunities for students who can’t afford to take on unpaid internships, is accepting applications until Feb. 28.

“Through this initiative, we will be giving Rutgers students the chance to support critical social services, to contribute to solutions for our most complex problems, to understand life in America from a different perspective, and to explore how they can strengthen our democracy,” Jonathan Holloway said when announcing the initiative during his inauguration as Rutgers’ 21st president.

RSSI provides selected sophomore and junior students from Camden, Newark and New Brunswick with an opportunity to earn up to $5,000 to complete a 200-hour service internship this summer at a nonprofit organization or direct-service government office. Students take a unique virtual course to apply their experience, expand career development skills, and build knowledge of civic engagement and the value of public service. RSSI students also receive tuition remission to pay for the 3-credit asynchronous course and participate in a meet and greet and academic symposium events with President Holloway.

“We want to make sure that all students have access to this kind of opportunity regardless of their socio-economic status,” said William (Wil) Jones Jr., executive director of Career Exploration and Success at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “We don’t want students to shy away from an opportunity aligned with their passion and designed to help them develop critical skills because they can’t afford to work for a nonprofit or take a 3-credit academic course.”

Interested students may apply with a relevant internship found on their own or participate in a matching process with approved internship sites before final selections are determined. In addition to sharing the opportunity with undergraduate students students in departments, courses, student groups and the broader campus community, faculty and staff can also nominate students to have RSSI details sent directly to them.

The initiative is run by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers-Camden Career Center, Rutgers-New Brunswick Office of Career Exploration and Success, and Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center.

“We are honored to work with Career Services on this important universitywide initiative that will provide a foundation for so many passionate Rutgers students to get involved in public service and make a difference in the community. We all benefit when youth are engaged in improving our democracy and advancing the common good. They are the future of our country,” said Sarah Kozak, Eagleton’s director of alumni relations and undergraduate associate program.

Eligible Rutgers students must be current sophomores and juniors, have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, have the ability to travel to an internship site in  the tri-state area, have a passion for public service, and be in good standing with their academic school and department.

When Holloway announced the RSSI Initiative, he called on Rutgers to be a leader in its commitment to public service along with its commitment to research and to providing access to higher education to those from modest backgrounds.

“I believe that education, paired with public service, can do amazing things,” Holloway said. “And given the events of this past year in our political landscape, I do not think it hyperbolic to say that education paired with public service can save democracy.”