Rewarding Service for Community-Engaged Fellows

At Xavier, the concept of service is lived out in many ways—in classrooms, on retreats, in the community. But a select group of students choose Xavier precisely because of its focus on service—and are awarded scholarships to make service a central focus of their Xavier education.

Students who want to continue volunteering in college love that Xavier backs up its commitment to service by offering a scholarship to students who commit to 10 hours of service a week. But the Community-Engaged Fellowship is so much more than counting service hours. And it’s why the program has been so successful. This year, there were 250-300 applicants, the most ever, says Director Sean Rhiney.

“The Fellowship is leveraging the talents and assets that students bring to the community in a way that can be impactful and that grows from sheer volunteerism to full participation and partnerships. I expect the Fellows to forge a partnership with people, talents and resources in a meaningful way,” Rhiney says.

Sean Rhiney

Evanston Academy is a great example of the depth of Xavier’s investment in community engagement, he says. The after-school tutoring program has five components run by Fellows, but that includes about 100 students who pass through the school each week to provide specific services such as occupational therapy, nursing, psychology and counseling. Evanston Academy and Xavier have a true partnership.

“It used to be just volunteerism. Now we collaborate with our partners,” Rhiney says. “The evolution of the program is that students build programs and build legacy leadership within Xavier to continue leading those programs.”

Read about three of our Fellows:

Terrence Ferguson

Courtney Garside

Ali Trianfo

Key elements of the program include:
• Eight Fellows are selected each year from a pool of 40 invited to interview on campus, for a total of about 30 students.
• The scholarship awards $22,000 a year for each Fellow.
• The program began in 1989 with five students, graduated its first class in 1994 and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.
• There are 117 total Fellows, including alumni.
• Fellows must be full-time, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and complete 10 hours of service each week in the community.
• Fellows explore different sites as freshmen, select favorite sites as sophomores and juniors, and become program leaders as seniors. The Legacy Leadership aspect allows graduating Fellows to pass on leadership of a program to rising seniors.
• The program has about 160 different partner sites throughout Cincinnati.