A hybrid between service learning and traditional internships, RFI Fellows experiences provide communities with tangible results on important self-defined projects while giving students resume-building work and insight into the career and life opportunities in rural places. In this unique experience, student pairs directly support community efforts as a whole, often serving as the link between many entities.
Community host teams include subject-matter experts and leadership mentors that assist with students’ major projects, connect them with volunteering opportunities, invite them to participate in community events and activities and provide diverse perspectives. RFI trains students and provides support and guidance throughout this experience. All participants learn and share on behalf of rural community growth.
Seventy-four University of Nebraska students have worked and served in 38 Nebraska communities through the previous “serviceship” experience from 2013 to 2018. RFI Student Serviceship was originally developed from a 2013 RFI-funded teaching and engagement project led by Dr. Tom Field, Dr. Lindsay Hastings and Reshell Ray of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Through a RFI fellows experience, communities are connected to college students and faculty and students and faculty are connected to rural community mavericks.