UDC’s Initiative in Civic Engagement Offers Students Pay for Community Service

Students posing for Initiative in Civic Engagement

Beyond the rigorous classroom instruction and training, the University of the District of Columbia strives to ensure that students gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields. Through the Initiative in Civic Engagement and Equity (ICE-E), students like Dana Rhea receive grants up to $5,000 while working at unpaid summer internships that encourage critical thinking about societal structures and solutions for addressing inequities.

Last summer Rhea interned at ONE DC-Organizing Neighborhood Equity, which has a goal of exercising political strength to create and preserve racial and economic equity in the Shaw neighborhood and the District. The organization works to build power and advantage for communities of color, the working poor, and other groups of oppressed people through grassroots organizing and leadership development.

The ICE-E grant enables undergraduate students who might not otherwise have the financial means, to engage in unpaid internships in Washington, DC that promote the Initiative’s goal of creating a more equitable society. Students gain invaluable experience toward their career and civic development, while earning money during the summer. Students may select from a list of equity-focused internships in the Washington, DC area provided by ICE-E, if they haven’t identified their own.

ICE-E participants are required to be full-time students and in good academic and financial standing during their freshman, sophomore or junior year. Interns work 40 hours a week for 12   weeks during the summer. Students engage in equity seminars and leadership development workshops during the internship period. 

UDC’s Initiative in Civic Engagement and Equity focuses on social justice and equity.  It encompasses public service, community/civic engagement, research and scholarship.  The initiative strives to demonstrate strategies and solutions that revitalize disadvantaged urban communities and their residents.   

Students have participated in internships with organizations including Empower DC, Latino Economic Development Corp., Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Effie Barry HIV/AIDS Initiative, DC American Civil Liberties Union, and Second Chance Employment Services.

Funding to allow students to gain internship experience is made possible by the Live to Give Charitable Trust Fund.