Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program
2023 NACE Conference Presentation Toolkit
NACE23 Conference Session
Session Summary: In its inaugural year, the Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program connected 100 students to paid summer internships in the public-service sector and a supporting three-credit course on civic engagement and career readiness. Panelists will share a toolkit to help you advocate for, develop, and launch a similar cohort-based internship program. Learning Objectives: Advocate for, develop, and launch a similar cohort-based program. Consider factors that affect equity and access to unpaid internships for students and employers. Build an internship course that compliments the experience at a public service–focused internship site and highlights the professional development expertise of career services.
Program Overview & Position Descriptions
The RSSI online toolkit features comprehensive resources on the program, including informative links and documentation. Additionally, it offers detailed position descriptions for the staff members leading the initiative, allowing visitors to gain insights into their roles and responsibilities.
Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway sees civic engagement as a critical component of education and a path toward appreciating our differences, restoring civil discourse, and serving the common good. Under the new Scarlet Service umbrella is the Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program, which provides summer internship experiences to undergraduate students at public service-oriented non-profit organizations and direct-service government offices while expanding their knowledge and skills to engage as active citizens.
This section outlines the fundraising proposal for the inaugural year of the Rutgers Summer Service (RSS) Internship Fund, which aims to support up to 150 Rutgers University students with $5,000 stipends and tuition assistance to cover the three-credit summer course.
Student Cohort Information
The Program's application process is open to current sophomores and juniors at Rutgers-Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark. To be eligible, applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, be in good standing with the university, possess the ability to travel to internship sites in New Jersey, New York City, or the Philadelphia region, and demonstrate a passion for community engagement and/or public service.
Marketing for the program relied primarily on email and digital flyers, with communication channels such as Handshake and the university student email reflector being utilized. To ensure the campus-specific nature of the program, campus partners were engaged to disseminate information and nominate students for participation.
The program includes a 3-credit virtual, primarily asynchronous course alongside the internship experience. Initially fully graded, the course covered public service, professional development, and DEI-related lesson plans. However, based on feedback from students and co-adjunct instructors, the course was updated to a pass/no-credit grading system in the second year to align with other internship courses and emphasize professional development within public service. Outside of the class, RSSI has various non-graded programs that also focus on public service.
Employer Vetting and Matching
All internship sites must have a mission focused on serving the public and offer a predominantly in-person (at least 75% in-person) immersive learning experience. Interns are expected to spend a minimum of 120 hours over 10-12 weeks, from late May to mid-August (averaging 10-15 hours per week), with opportunities to directly engage with the community served or indirectly through employees of the organization
President Jonathan Holloway
"Just as Rutgers is a leader when it comes to providing access to higher education to those from modest backgrounds, and just as Rutgers is a leader in terms of research productivity, I believe that Rutgers should be a leader in its commitment to public service. To that end, today I am announcing the creation of the Rutgers Summer Service initiative. This initiative will enable an annual cohort of our students to spend their second- or third-year summers in public service internships. Rutgers Summer Service students will work for non-profits, serve the broader community, and gain the opportunity to learn about people who are unlike themselves—who face different struggles and come from different backgrounds, countries, races, or religions. Participating in this program will make our students better citizens and our world a better place."