How do we make change happen?
The PSIP enables business students to CHOOSE to work with partners in community-based nonprofits and public sector agencies, receive stipends for their work and have an opportunity to “live and work” the USF mission. Often, these organizations only can afford to offer unpaid internships; as a result, business students often overlook these opportunities. PSIP students develop and apply their skills to address challenges related to economic development, poverty, youth and other social justice issues. The PSIP program provides funding for stipends to facilitate business students’ involvement.
The PSIP is designed to stimulate business students’ interest in public service, enabling them to more completely experience the mission and values of the university; and, understand how business interests are served when the public sector, social justice and business align. Students learn to become advocates for change and give “voice” to the disempowered and disenfranchised. They are given the opportunity to develop and apply their business knowledge, tools and skills to address community needs and social concerns.
Program Overview: Steps in the Process
Step 1: Partners and Projects
The Faculty liaison and community partners identify projects that make use of business students’ skill-sets; enable students to apply what they are learning in their B-School curriculum in the internship; and allow partners and students to learn from each other in reciprocal ways.
Step 2: Interviews
Students compete for and interview with community partners for part-time internships. Internships typically begin in June and complete by mid-August.
Step 3: Student Deliverables
Stipends or scholarships are awarded to students for the following deliverables: (a) complete memorandum of understanding with the organization; (b) meet internship time commitment; (c) use electronic media to share reflections and learnings with other stakeholders (new students, community partners, prospective donors, media).
Students participating in past PSIP projects shared what they learned about the organization’s mission, clients, funding and policy-related circumstances. They became spokespersons for the relevant social issues (hunger, HIV, educational and healthcare access, environmental justice, etc.) and they described their experiences in ways that relate to who they are and will be as people and professionals. Transformation and social identity change occurs as a result of engaging with the community and especially with marginalized populations. The business skills might look similar, but the lessons learned are more likely to be quite different.
The PSIP Program was initially designed and implemented by Dayle M. Smith, PhD and Julie Reed, PhD, University of San Francisco in Spring 2008.
PSIP Director: Monika Hudson, Assistant Professor