Haas Center receives 150 applicants for undergrad fellowships

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The Haas Center for Public Service received approximately 150 applicants for its 60 fellowships for summer 2011, according to Fellowships Program Director Jeff Hawthorne. This year saw a spike in applicants to the public interest law fellowship, but the philanthropy fellowship continued to receive a low number of applicants.

The Haas Center Undergraduate Fellowship Program offers financial support to students who wish to work on domestic or international public service projects. The program offers fellows a $4,000 base stipend to fund their program, with additional support corresponding to students’ financial need. Though the total amount of funding for this year’s fellows has not been calculated yet, Hawthorne said the center averages $500,000 each year in grants.

Fellows admitted to the program participate in one of 11 fellowships: African Service, Community Arts, Education and Youth Development, Haas Summer, Haas Summer Round II, Philanthropy, Public Interest Law, Stanford Pride, Spirituality, Service, Social Change, Donald A. Strauss and Urban Summer.

Though most fellowships involve students working in non-profit organizations, the philanthropy fellowship places students on the funding side of service, said Sarah Scheenstra ’11, student ambassador for undergraduate fellowships.

“Philanthropy is grant-making, so rather than being at a non-profit where you’re depending on funding from other places, often when you’re working in philanthropy you’re working with other organizations to fund their projects,” Scheenstra said. “It’s kind of a flipside to the equation.”

Scheenstra participated in the African Service fellowship the summer after her sophomore year, working for the Daily Monitor in Uganda. Following her fellowship, Scheenstra continued to work with the Haas Center to market the fellowship program among students.

The fact that the philanthropy fellowship is different from the typical service fellowship could be one reason why fewer students apply to that particular program, Scheenstra said.

“It’s not really on people’s radar and they maybe aren’t considering the possibility of philanthropy,” she added.

Hawthorne, on the other hand, thinks that the low interest in the philanthropy program is due to the fact that the current student marketing team does not have a student who had participated in that program. The Haas Center will continue to search for a student to represent that fellowship and promote the other fellowships for the coming year.

“We’ll continue to use the channels that we have because they’re the most effective avenues for reaching where we think there’s an intersection with some of the coursework that they’re doing,” Hawthorne said.

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