“Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will, its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.” –M.K. Gandhi

The Gandhi Service Fellowship is a year-long internship for Rochester-area undergraduate and graduate students to explore how nonviolence may be applied to a social justice issue they are passionate about. It includes training in nonviolence and regular meetings with Gandhi Institute staff to develop and implement a project.

Gandhi Service Fellows:

  • Design and implement a service project aligned with their course work and passion,
  • Gain understanding of nonviolence as an internal, interpersonal and structural approach to social change,
  • Learn through service alongside colleagues and community leaders, and
  • Receive mentoring and budgetary support from Gandhi Institute staff and board members.

Check out 2016-2017 Gandhi Service Fellow Janine Burge on WHEC-TV here.

Learn about our 2015-16 Gandhi Service Fellows:

Karan Arul

University of Rochester,
Biochemistry and English major.

GSF Project: “College Awareness” program for middle school children in the Rochester City School District

Rachel Casper

University of Rochester,
Political Science and Philosophy major, minoring in Chinese.

GSF Project: ending the stigmatization surrounding LGBT+ youth

Siri Chillara

University of Rochester,
Chemical engineering major

GSF Project: designing an urban organic farm in to connect U of R students to their food and community

Michael Gulston

University of Rochester alumnus,
Political Science and Environmental Studies major

GSF Project: campaign to address stress and domestic violence through meditation, animal therapy, and a film screening

Varun Mehta

SUNY Geneseo,
Biology major.

GSF Project: addressing hunger and food waste with a food drive picking up from individual houses.

Jacob Tyson

University of Rochester,
Philosophy and International Relations major.

GSF Project: connecting refugees with tutors in order to learn English as a second language and provide the communication skills necessary to survive.

Rahul Upadhya

University of Rochester,
Biomedical Engineering major.

GSF Project: assisting young people to connect with senior citizens through volunteer work.

LaRon White

University of Rochester,
Creative Writing major.

GSF Project: mentor Rochester City School youth and expose them to positive outlets in life.

Past Gandhi Service Fellows in Action:

Husain Bawany organized the Coexistence Dinner and Dialogue, an event that brought together students and administrators from Rochester area colleges together in dialogue about their different faith traditions.       

Fatima Bawany worked with Rochester community refugee youth in her summer 2013 Davis Project for Peace titled Voices of Hope: Empowering the Next Generation of Refugees, which partnered with the Gandhi Institute and Mary’s Place Outreach to bring together refugee youth in programs exploring leadership, conflict resolution and service. Check out the Democrat and Chronicle’s video and article coverage of Voices of Hope here.

In 2013, Julia Polidore-Oakley and Anisha Gill launched the Nonviolence Youth Empowerment Project at Dr. Walter Cooper Academy in Rochester, using is Gandhi’s and Dr. King’s Principles of Nonviolence. The projects initiatives were a multifaceted enriched curriculum, using a holistic approach to empower our young people’s minds, bodies and souls. Nonviolence facilitators served as positive role models in the school environment, providing urban youth with tools and strategies to overcome and combat violent and negative behaviors.

Words from past Gandhi Service Fellows:

I study theories and abstractions in class. Working with the Gandhi Institute allows me to take that knowledge and use it with a commitment to love and truth in a project that empowers oppressed youth.

Joseph Gardella, 2009-10 Service Fellow

Joseph Gardella,
2009-10 Service Fellow

Working with the Gandhi Institute has been such a beautiful and worthwhile experience for me. I have always desired to achieve peace in my community, and I feel like I am one step closer to my goal after learning about the many forms of peace initiatives in Rochester. The journey to peace on Earth seems endless, but does not every journey begin with a few small footsteps in the right direction?

U of R

Faye Gura,
2010-11 Service Fellow

Working with the Gandhi Institute changed my life completely. I became at peace with my inner self. The frustrations that I felt during my first year of college disappeared. I am happier and even much better at my relationships with other people.  I am learning to accept people the way they are without losing who I am.

Lendsey

Lendsey Achudi,
2010-11 Service Fellow

As a native Pakistani, I had known quite a bit about Gandhi. But, I only learned about his passion for inter-religious and intercultural understanding after becoming a Gandhi Service Fellow. One of the first gifts I was given when I became part of the Institute was a book called Vows and Observances. After reading it, I was able to see how knowledgeable Gandhi was about other faiths and how he worked to incorporate all religions into his community, the Ashram, making people of all backgrounds feel welcome and respected.

Fatima_Bawany

Fatima Bawany,
2011-13 Service Fellow

During my service fellowship at the Cooper Academy, I was able to find peace working with the youth. Each week, I taught the students American Sign Language as a way to express themselves. Each week, the students built on from the last week. Eventually, they were able to construct sentences. Their enthusiasm to lead classroom activities as well as their dedication to learning new signs blew me away. I’m so grateful to be part of the Gandhi Institute because I was allowed to take part in such a fulfilling experience.

Julia & Anisha cropped

Anisha Gill,
2013-14 Service Fellow

The M.K. Gandhi Service Fellowship opened my eyes to the practice of nonviolence in human relations. As a society, we must seek to understand the roots of violence before we can properly treat them. With the immense growth and comprehension gained from the Fellowship, I now feel more equipped to incorporate nonviolence practices in everyday life.

Michael

Michael Gulston,
2015-16 Service Fellow