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Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative

President Jonathan Holloway

During the inauguration of Jonathan Scott Holloway on Friday, November 5, Holloway announced the creation of the new Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative. More information about the partnership between Career Exploration and Success and the Eagleton Institute of Politics will be available in December. 

Excerpt from Jonathan Scott Holloway Inauguration Speech on 11-05-21

Earlier this year, I wrote in the New York Times about universal national service as a path to appreciating our differences and restoring civil discourse. I know from the responses I received that while many may be uncertain about a national program, people are aching for some sort of vehicle to improve the quality of our public conversation and culture. Education, of course, is where we start. When we provide a robust and challenging education to our students we are laying the foundation for a healthy civil discourse. It often feels, however, that this is not enough. I believe that education, paired with public service, can do amazing things. 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.

Earlier today we had a panel discussion, "In Service to the Common Good." The panel featured former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, and the President of the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, Raj Vinnakota. Their accomplishments and their shared commitment to public service are as inspiring as they are humbling. I asked them to participate in this panel because they could help me highlight and then elevate the importance of the common good. This is an ideal, I worry, that is too often considered unfashionable or merely old-fashioned. I disagree deeply and believe that if we discard the common good we put the health and resilience of our society at great risk.

There is an opportunity here.

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 Internship 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.

The RSSI Initiative, which will be run through the Eagleton Institute of Politics and our Career Service offices and which will start this coming summer, will annually place up to 150 students in paid public service internships—and hopefully more in years to come. This program will allow students who otherwise could not afford to pursue service opportunities the means to do so. Through this program, 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.

View the full inauguration speech here.