ELISS is an extracurricular, volunteer experience for graduate and professional students. Fellows collaborate with a multi-campus ELISS team to help local and national stakeholders better understand and address a complex issue that impacts multiple communities. For example, in 2015, the fellows addressed the question: How can our cities prepare for disease epidemics?
By working with an interdisciplinary team to engage multiple communities around a tough problem, fellows develop 21st century leadership skills such as: communicating with diverse audiences, systems thinking, collaborating with a distributed team, creative problem solving, and entrepreneurial thinking.
Fellows will travel three times and volunteer approximately 5 hours per week to:
- Engage stakeholders and experts in their community to better understand the causes of and potential solutions to a complex issue;
- Interact with mentors to develop leadership skills and support ELISS project goals;
- Organize community events and web resources that promote dialogue among stakeholders and share ideas across regions and institutions about an important issue impacting all communities;
- Contribute to the development and improvement of ELISS as an organization.
ELISS fellows participate in the following activities as program funds permit:
- Multi-day orientation
- Mid-year, in-person team planning meeting
- Campus events and team projects
- Virtual learning and planning sessions
- Culminating briefing for national leaders
- Professional development and seed grants
ELISS fellows volunteer an average of five hours per week to organize and participate in ELISS-related activities including: on-campus and virtual planning meetings, issue-related events for campus and community stakeholders, and leadership development activities.