Civic Engagement


The list below gives examples of Fellowships in the area of civic engagement.

Bonner Scholars: Since 1992, the Bonner Scholars Program has supported a growing spirit of service at Rhodes, helping us move from a strong history of volunteerism to an even stronger commitment to service-learning, social change and servant leadership.

Crossroads to Freedom: is a digital archive of materials that documents the Civil Rights era in Memphis, Tennessee. The purpose of the archive is to promote and support conversations in our community about the impact of this historical era on our city today. As Crossroads Fellows, selected Rhodes students contribute to all aspects of the project.

Summer Service Fellowship: The Summer Service Fellowship is an opportunity for you to work on community issues in Memphis such as education, health care, global warming, homelessness, etc. You may already have connections with a Memphis organization or you may want to explore other local opportunities.

Cypress Guitar: Rhodes students will work with John Bass, Gina Nicholson (Cypress principle), and on-site coordinator Parker Davis (Rhodes ’10) to design and implement an afterschool guitar program at Cypress Middle School. Cypress owns guitars for the program, but it will be up to the fellows to maintain them (strings, tuning, etc.). Instructors will teach individual 45-minute lessons to 8 Cypress students on Tuesdays and Thursdays (1.5 hours per day/3 hours per week total) for 12 weeks in the fall (Sept. 7-Dec. 5) and 14 weeks in the Spring (Jan. 18-Apr. 30). Depending on the progress of the students, a guitar ensemble will be formed to give them access to performing in a group setting in addition to individually, and Rhodes students will gain experience in conducting a larger ensemble. Prior to beginning with the work, the instructors will receive training sessions in guitar pedagogy and will take Dorothy Cox’s community tour of the neighborhood to understand the environment in which they will be teaching. In December and May on days TBA, recitals will be help on the Rhodes campus (likely in Tuthill Performance Hall) consisting of performances by all of the students and the guitar ensemble, once it gets going.

Deaf Literacy: This fellowship provides opportunities to learn/develop skills in American Sign Language, conduct research on deaf literacy, and learn about deaf culture while volunteering with the Deaf Family Literacy Academy, Memphis (DFLAM), an exciting new non-profit program to improve reading skills of deaf and hard of hearing children and teach their parents to communicate using ASL. The program starts late August and ends in May. The fellowship will have three components, requiring a commitment of approximately 6 hours/week:

  1. ASL learning: All fellows are expected to attend one of two Sign classes (depending on prior experience and skill level) taught through Memphis City Schools outreach (1 hr/week throughout the academic year) or Deaf Connect (2 hrs/week, 12 weeks).
  2. Community service: As DFLAM volunteers, fellows will assist the director at numerous events: social gatherings for the deaf community, signed-story time at the local library, and classes for parents of hearing-impaired children. Additionally, volunteers will assist at the Deaf Connect office with data input and the program’s in-house library. (2-3 hrs/wk average).
  3. Research: Fellows will conduct library research on aspects of deaf literacy specific to their own academic interests, culminating in an URCAS presentation or equivalent project (2-3 hrs/wk average). 

Living in Intentional Community: This fellowship entails the formation of an intentional community for the 2010-11 academic year (see attached community statement). Six Rhodes College seniors will use Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, as a guide for community life.  Members will reside in a house near campus for the purpose of forming an intentional community committed to sustainable living and service to those in the Binghampton neighborhood district. Members will engage in weekly community service, and individual and communal times for reflection. Weekly blog posts will provide a forum for shared reflection on community life, and regular opportunities for hospitality to the local and campus communities will expand civic engagement to this form of service.  Members will also meet monthly with the faculty advisor for discussion and ongoing assessment of community and individual formation.

Community Development: Community Development Fellows work hands-on with our Learning Corridor partners in the communities bordering Rhodes (Vollintine-Evergreen and the Midtown North neighborhoods of Hollywood, Springdale and Hyde Park) to strengthen those communities through identification and bolstering of assets. Fellows staff the VECA Welcome Center and Shasta Central community offices as well as work in our partner schools. Students work with key stakeholders, including residents, city and county government, and local businesses and non-profits. Students are encouraged to develop their own project-based fellowships, working with faculty, community members and Learning Corridor staff. Three existing positions (2010-11) in the VECA Welcome Center are:

  • VECA Communications Fellow: responsible for the website, newsletter (including coordination of delivery), Facebook, constant contact email list, and advertisements, and works with the VECA Communications Committee.
  • VECA Environmental Fellow: focuses on the physical condition of the neighborhood, and helps maintain the community garden, V&E Greenline, and neighborhood cleanups.  Potential new initiatives include development of a fruit orchard on vacant properties in the neighborhood and related harvest events. Some physical activity is required.
  • VECA Block Club and Events Fellow: focuses on the social aspect of the organization with projects such as the block clubs, neighborhood gatherings, flyers, and other logistical elements. This student will work with block clubs, VECA Managing Committee and VECA Safety Committee.