Do you see a hole in your community that needs to be filled? Are you bursting at the seams to connect with students at your school about a certain topic that you are passionate about? Do you have an idea to help the City of St. Petersburg but don’t have the money, resources, or know-how to get it done?
The LWVSPA is launching our Students Driving Change: Civic Engagement Fellowship for college and high school students. Students in groups of 2-4 will develop and execute a program that will improve civic engagement in their community. We will train and mentor you to build your skills in issue advocacy, voter education, grassroots collaboration, and facilitating healthy dialogue. Projects will be funded up to $750.
What Kind of Projects Are We Looking For?
When people hear the term “civic engagement,” they often think city hall meetings and registering neighbors to vote. However, the concept is much broader. Civic engagement refers to a person’s connection to the community and how you interact with your peers, neighbors, or friends. We are looking for projects that encourage people to take action around a cause or topic.
Some examples of projects that we have seen in the past include:
- Digital marketing and social media campaigns that raise awareness about an issue.
- Campus meetups and events encouraging students to take action on a certain topic.
- Development of training materials to help incoming freshmen and existing fellow classmates get involved and learn about a topic or issue.
This fellowship doesn’t necessarily need to be voting-centric. Focus on an issue in your community and brainstorm ways that your peers can become involved to solve a problem, bring light to a cause, or change others perceptions.
As the program leaders of your civic project, you set the launch date and completion date for the project. You can develop your program through the end of the 2019 fall semester, or just for a few weeks. However, we expect these projects to be completed by the start of 2020.
What Do You Need to Complete the Fellowship Application?
The Civic Engagement Fellowship application guides students through what they need. You will need a clear idea, a plan of action, and a line-item budget for how you spend your money. This application mimics grant applications that you will likely encounter as an activist, and we will make sure you stick to your plan to achieve your goals.
You don’t have to have a complete plan ironed out. Your program will likely change. You need an outline that you can work with a mentor to flesh out and develop for success.
What Does the Fellowship Program Look Like?
You have the idea, we have the resources to help you execute it. We will fund your project up to $750, provide you with a mentor, and hold regular training seminars to give you the tools to launch your project.
You will be able to work with activists who have been lobbying their causes for decades, who have stumbled along the way but have climbed back up, who want to share their lessons so you don’t have to learn them the hard way.
Through the application, tell us what you need. Your group will need to provide weekly updates on what you are working on and we will do what we can to tear down barriers so your project runs smoothly.
What Is Required to Participate in This Fellowship?
We have designed our fellowship so participants can grow personally and professionally while helping their communities. Please review the criteria and application thoroughly before submitting your proposal. Fellowship requirements:
- Participants must be high school or undergraduate level college students.
- Participants must be available 10 hours each month for meetings, calls, or fellowship seminars and activities.
- Participants must submit weekly project reports to their mentors and program leaders.
- Participants must be in groups of 2-4.
If you meet these criteria and are eager to see your civic idea become a reality, fill out the application below to submit your consideration. The application is currently open and accepting rolling admissions.
Questions? Concerns? Don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact Amanda Dodge at amandadodge4 at gmail dot com to learn more.
Image via Flickr by ldifranza, commercial use allowed.