University of Rochester

Third Class of Urban Fellows Ready to Work in Community Programs

May 14, 2004

Thirteen college students keenly interested in urban affairs have been selected for a summer internship experience funded by the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Rochester Urban Fellows will be paid to work in the community and to spend additional time at seminars and activities to gain a deeper understanding of the cultures and living experiences in urban America.

The University of Rochester, Leadership Rochester, and the Sector 4 Community Council will sponsor and collaborate on all portions of the 10-week internship, which begins June 1. The students are enrolled at Brown University, Georgetown University, Nazareth College of Rochester, St. John Fisher College, and the University of Rochester.

“Our goal is to engage talented young people in the issues of Rochester so we wanted the widest range of students we could find,” says Jody Asbury, coordinator of the program and College dean of students at the University of Rochester. Those who attend out-of-state colleges are natives of Rochester.

Jennifer Leonard, president of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, says that the foundation “awarded Urban Fellows a third year of support because of its work to strengthen the relationships between southwest Rochester residents and organizations, and their neighbor, the University of Rochester. This program will serve as a model for future University-community partnerships because it inspires students to become active, engaged citizens, broadening their understanding of the world beyond the classroom and enriching the community in the process.”

The foundation supports Rochester Urban Fellows with $20,000 from its Civic Engagement Priority Area grants program, which is part of the foundation’s work to increase trust, tolerance, and involvement in communities throughout the region.

During the summer, each student will work four days a week on a specific assignment with an agency or community group. An additional day will be devoted to learning about politics, demographics, history, and other topics through readings and discussions with academics, and city and community leaders. Throughout the summer, the interns will live at the University of Rochester.

Josanne Reaves, executive director of Leadership Rochester, will handle the day-to-day programming for the interns. Leadership Rochester is the area’s premier leadership development program that has offices on the University of Rochester’s River Campus. It has trained more than 400 leaders in the greater Rochester community.

In two years, Asbury points out, organizers have seen the interns gain a remarkable amount of knowledge and experience about Rochester. “As one student said last year: ‘You can’t turn your back once you know what is there.’ ”