Path to Purpose


Check out some of our Community Fellows’ previous work here!

Path to Purpose is an advanced year-long leadership and positive change fellowship grounded in a community organizing model. Fellows receive training that highlights relationship building, personal development, capacity building, communication, and more.  Fellows become connected to numerous community organizations and leaders in Gainesville and Alachua County and develop relationships to support long-term goals of positive community growth. 

The fellowship aims to establish a tradition of community collaboration and positive change, inspiring students to meet specific community needs, be innovative in approaching our shared future, and promote growth and personal development. Fellows learn about critical community engagement and organizing, collaborate with fellow cohort members and BCLS staff, and develop individual and intersectional cohort projects, creating tangible impacts through ongoing projects.

Work is self-directed and self-motivated, with individualized support and structure provided by the BCLS team. Please note, that this is not a competitive fellowship; it is a collaborative fellowship. The purpose is to develop your leadership through positive change and community involvement.

Time commitment varies each week, but we expect fellows to spend a minimum of 4–6 hours per week on Path to Purpose items. The variance is due to the self-directed work completed outside of the fellowship space. 

The mandatory weekly meetings will occur throughout the semesters from 4:30-6 pm on Tuesdays. Outside of this space, you can expect to work within teams with other fellows; attend community events; work with a community partner; and contribute to initiatives that could address food insecurity, health, housing, education, capacity building, and more.  

Are You?

  • Self-directed and self-motivated
  • Dedicated to positive change. 
  • Ready to play an active role in a collective community organizing process and contribute to long-term goals.  
  • Ready to break down silos and work at the intersections of different disciplines and various social issues, creating a vision to work towards common goals. 
  • Ready to build community with your peers in Gainesville and UF.  
  • Ready to grow as a leader and a neighbor. 
  • An Undergraduate or graduate student  

    You will gain

    • Connection to community partners and members, and faculty.  
    • Experience working with communities and on projects related to your passions.  
    • Experience in crafting a program and having agency in its direction.  
    • A culminating product, such as an e-portfolio and a showcase.  
    • Soft skills (communication, relationship building, listening, capacity building) and professional development to develop yourself. 

      Ready to Advance your leadership path?

      Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from April 20th to August 30, priority will be given to those who apply earlier and we will conduct ongoing interviews during the summer. Check back soon for more information regarding application open dates.

      Would you like to partner with us?

      Are you a UF Faculty or Community Organization who could benefit from Community Fellows?  Please let us know about your project so we can recruit the best students for you.  For more information, contact Manda Wittebort at: