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What is a Community Building Internship?

The Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement promotes a more just, equitable and sustainable world, engaging students with local organizations with which we have long-term partnerships. Our summer Community Building Internships (CBIs)—established in 2007—create opportunities for students and community members to work for food justice (nutrition, community gardens, farmworker rights), neighborhood organizing, health and educational equity, community arts, and more. Supervised by committed activists and program directors, students participating in Community Building Internships acquire the skills to lead and contribute to community transformation.  

Students apply for Community Building Internships through the CCPD during winter quarter (round one) and spring quarter (round two). Each Community Building Internship comes with a sliding-scale stipend funded by endowed support from the CCPD and a grant from the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Because the MJUSCCE has a long history of relationship-based work in the greater Kalamazoo community, and because Community Building Internships include local opportunities in alignment with MJUSCCE priorities, the Field Experience Program will support Community Building Interns as its exclusive avenue for students to conduct summer internships with local non-profit organizations. In other words, internships with local non-profit organizations which are not Community Building Internships are generally not eligible for the Field Experience Program. Occasionally, at the discretion of the CCPD and MJUSCCE, a student-secured internship with a local non-profit may be designated a Community Building Internship if the student and site supervisor understand and agree to meet the requirements of the CBI thread of the Field Experience Program. Inquiries about such a designation should be directed to Alison Geist, Director of the MJUSCCE.

Benefits of Community Building Internships

There are many benefits to participating in a Community Building Internship, including:

  • Transcript Notation
  • Stipend to help with expenses
  • Mentor relationship with local Kalamazoo professionals
  • Praxis—connecting scholarship with applied work, and acquiring practical skills for community change

Requirements of Community Building Internships

To participate in Community Building Internships, a student must:

  • Be a current first-year, sophomore, or junior, when applying
  • Participate in the Field Experience Program and complete all program requirements for CBI's:
    • Learning Contract—Must be completed with your internship supervisor in order to mutually establish goals for your skill development, learning, and contribution to the organization during your internship.
    • Online Orientation—Must be completed by Friday, June 6, 2014.
    • Reflection Meetings—Must be attended weekly during your internship.
    • Reflective Assignment—Must be submitted at the conclusion of your internship.