By Kate Hassey, ’16
The Campus and Community Partnerships (CCP) Committee works to increase SIG’s connections with surrounding communities and to strengthen its existing partnerships.
The committee spent this past winter quarter creating a new fellowships program, SIG Local Fellowships, which complements the traditional summer fellowship offerings with academic year opportunities. As there are so many government opportunities within driving distance of Stanford, CCP saw the opportunity for SIG to connect talented Stanford students with important local policy issues and to increase Stanford’s presence in local government offices. These opportunities are designed for freshmen and sophomore students looking to gain work experience and to prepare for full-time summer experiences.
After much brainstorming, emailing, and logistical preparation, CCP paired three students with three different offices: the office of State Senator Jerry Hill, the San Jose City Auditor’s Office, and the San Francisco Mayor’s office.
Internship duties are substantive and include community engagement work, policy research, and writing news releases. The selected students went through an application process, highlighting their qualifications and motivations, and then an interview process with the partner agencies and organizations. They are now completing spring quarter internships at respective offices supported by a modest travel stipend made possible through SIG’s Halleck Fund.
Going forward, CCP hopes to create a quarter-long fellowship experience during the academic year to serve more students and form sustained relationships with partner organizations. Students are currently contacting other organizations to expand the list of internship opportunities and to introduce more Stanford students to the world of government right in our backyard.
CCP has also continued engagement in local school civic education. Currently, two SIG teaching teams are working with Citizen Schools to bring civic education into middle-school classrooms. The classes focus on introducing students to the three branches of government, to the politics of interest groups, to the operation of Congressional committees, and to the channels for making change through the legislative process.
One of the teaching teams, comprised of a group of students from Stanford’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is approaching these lessons through a social justice focus.
CCP hopes to extend its civics initiative by expanding to other schools, programs, or models. The committee hopes to share civic education with more students in the area through Model Congress conferences, assemblies in local schools, and bringing local students to the Stanford campus for learning opportunities with student political organizations.