Community Service and Engagement

Engaging in community service is nothing new at Rhodes. Some say it’s just in our DNA. For two years in a row, Newsweek magazine named Rhodes the #1 service-minded school in the U.S. And Washington Monthly also named Rhodes the top college in the country for the number of hours committed to service by the student body. Currently, more than 80 percent of Rhodes students are involved in some form of community service.

The Laurence F. Kinney Program
The Kinney Program is the Rhodes campus-wide effort to engage all students in service and social action in Memphis and the broader community. More than token or simplistic volunteerism, the Kinney Program helps students understand our community neighbors, reach across cultural, racial and economic barriers, and seek lasting solutions for a more compassionate and just world.

With connections to almost 100 service programs in Memphis, the Kinney Program recruits, supports and motivates students to match personal passions and interests with social needs in the community. Kinney also sponsors voters registration drives, educational events on social issues, service training and reflection opportunities, social activism and advocacy, and works with faculty to develop service-learning courses and community-based research projects.

Bonner Center for Faith and Service / Bonner Scholars Program
Rhodes is part of a national consortium of Bonner Scholars, an innovative and pioneering program for scholarship and community service, initiated at Rhodes in 1992 by the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation of Princeton, NJ.  Along with Bonner Scholar Programs at Berea, Morehouse, Spelman, Davidson, Antioch, Oberlin, DePauw, Warren Wilson, Earlham, Wofford, Maryville, University of Richmond and other colleges, Rhodes offers up to 15, four-year service scholarships to entering students who have financial need and an exceptional commitment to serving in the community. An application for the Bonner Scholarship is available through the Rhodes College Office of Admission.

Summer Service Fellowships
Summer Service Fellowships are intensive, 9-week summer experiences that award academic credit for working full time with Memphis community organizations. Each summer, a group of 16 dedicated, passionate Summer Service Fellows live together and participate in group programs that educate them about Memphis, service, and ways to tackle challenges they encounter.

Community Service Student Groups
Rhodes College takes pride in the many student organizations that focus on community service. From issues of global health to the education system in Memphis, there is a group for every student. 

Globe Med
GlobeMed aims to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of the impoverished around the  world. Rhodes students lead campaigns on campus to generate funds and resources for collaborative projects with our partner organization; organize and participate in globalhealthU, a student-designed educational curriculum, through which they learn about global health issues and how they can incorporate sustainable solutions into our project efforts; and participate in the Grassroots Onsite Work (GROW) internship in the summer, traveling to our partner organization to work on projects and learn from local leaders.

Habitat for Humanity
The Rhodes College Chapter of Habitat for Humanity is one of the oldest college campus chapters in the country. Working with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, students volunteer to help further the goal of eliminating substandard housing. The Rhodes College Chapter participates in fall and spring build dates, where student volunteers help in the construction of a new house. Our chapter has also recently taken part in Habitat′s new Community Clean Up Day in Uptown.

Souper Contact
Souper Contact is the Rhodes sponsored soup kitchen, run entirely by student volunteers. Each week students come together to prepare and serve a meal for the homeless and hungry population of Memphis, as well as to interact with the individuals. Several volunteers return on a regular basis to continue friendships they have built with participants. From chopping lettuce for salad and washing dishes, to serving and chatting with participants, Souper Contact is a great way to plug into the at risk community in Midtown as well as other Rhodes students.

Special Olympics Lynx Club
Rhodes students, in partnership with Special Olympics of Greater Memphis, have been facilitating the "Lynx Club" program since Spring 2011. The mission is to activate Rhodes students to the Special Olympics cause while providing individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Greater Memphis area with new opportunities for sport, friendship, and fun. Each week, teams comprised of SO athletes and Rhodes student volunteers get together for practice and competition of various team sports. Lynx Club members have also participated in SOGM fundraising events, and have raised over $8,000 for the organization so far. They have also brought an international awareness campaign, "Spread the Word to End the Word," to Rhodes campus and the Memphis community. 

Rhodes United for St. Jude
Rhodes United for St. Jude is an on-campus sponsored club designed to educate others about St. Jude and fund raise and volunteer for the hospital throughout the year. Students take monthly trips to the Target House, which is a house for patients who are receiving extended therapy and cannot return home.

VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood
VOX strives to educate Rhodes students and the Memphis community about safer sex, contraceptives, and healthy relationships. We also provide information on how to access contraceptives and reproductive health services from local organizations such as Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region and CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health. We work to deconstruct taboos around sexual health and move our campus and city towards reproductive justice.