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Planning Public Service Projects

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Public Service Fellowships Panel

Public Service Fellowships Panel

Join Yale panelists who have recently undertaken public service projects as they describe how they identified their projects, built community relationships, and used Yale’s resources to support them along the way.

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If you are planning a public service project or carrying out a public service-related internship or research, you will need to do some preparation beforehand to make sure that you are engaging with the work appropriately and in the best possible way for everyone.

Use the video above as a starting point and engage with the resources on this page.

Please be in touch if you would like to talk about your plans.

Identifying your project

There are many ways to undertake public service: volunteering, advocacy, educational interventions, research, etc. You will come to the project with a unique combination of skills, knowledge, background, and other factors which will make you more suited to some kinds of engagement than others.

Question: Ask yourself:

  • Why do I feel compelled to engage with this issue? And why now?
  • What is the need for my involvement? Who identified this need?
  • What skills and background do I have that would make me useful in this area?
  • How could my skills and background be best put to use in this area?

Use the planning worksheets below to help you reflect on your plans and identify the best route for becoming engaged.

Identifying stakeholders

When planning a public service project, it is vital to check, and keep checking, that what you are doing is in keeping with what the community you are serving wants/needs. Remember - this may not be what you think they want/need!

Question: Ask yourself:

  • What do I hope to accomplish in this project?
  • Who are the stakeholders in this project?
  • What do they hope to accomplish from this project?
  • Have I engaged with and listened to the stakeholders to identify how I can be of service?

Establishing partnerships

All public service work requires support and engagement from organizations and communities.

Question: Ask yourself:

  • Are there established organizations already doing the kind of work I hope to do?
  • If yes, how could I get involved with their work?
  • If no, are there community leaders already involved with the issues I would like to engage with?
  • How could I establish a relationship with this community?

Planning Worksheets

If you would like to talk to a fellowship adviser, a student mentor, or someone from Dwight Hall as you are planning your project, please be in touch.

Recommended Background Reading

Becoming World Wise (Richard Slimbach). Particularly chapter 3 “The Mindful Traveller”

Community-Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and Abroad (Eric Hartman, Richard C. Kiely, Jessica Friedrichs, Christopher Boettcher, and Rafia Zakaria)

The Art of World Learning: Community Engagement for a Sustainable Planet (Richard Slimbach)

Related Resources

Global Health