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Cardinal Quarter: Service, Learning, and Impact

Hundreds of funded summer opportunities to work in nonprofit or government are available through the Cardinal Quarter program.

Stanford University has always been a hub for academic excellence and innovation, but it also recognizes the importance of giving back to communities and making a positive impact on the world. This commitment to service and social responsibility is exemplified through Cardinal Service programs, which allow Stanford students to engage in service to communities in the Bay Area, across the United States, and around the world.

One of these programs, Cardinal Quarter, offers students the opportunity to work fulltime for a quarter or a summer with a nonprofit organization or government agency. Students can apply their academic knowledge, develop essential skills, and build invaluable networks while making meaningful contributions to the community. These opportunities come with stipends, ensuring that financial constraints do not deter students from participating. With over 500 opportunities offered each year, Cardinal Quarter provides students with a wide array of choices and experiences.

Amisha Iyer, ’23, spent the summer as an intern at Green Chimneys, a school in New York that supports children with special educational needs through interaction with animals and nature.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Amisha Iyer

Gabriel Frank-McPheter, ’26, interned with the Office of Hilda L. Solis at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, serving unhoused and low-income constituents.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gabriel Frank-McPheter

To ensure that participants get the most out of their public service experience, staff at the Haas Center for Public Service provide a comprehensive support system. Students are provided with training on the Principles of Ethical and Effective Service, as well as other preparatory courses and workshops, cohort activities, advising sessions, and reflection activities to help students get ready for their Cardinal Quarter experience.

While the Haas Center funds and administers many of the opportunities, Cardinal Quarters are also supported by other centers on campus. In the 2022-23 academic year, a record 685 Cardinal Quarter opportunities were offered through almost 30 campus partners, including 615 summer positions – the most ever since the launch of Cardinal Service in 2015. Students served in 48 countries and 106 cities and towns within the United States. See where they served on this interactive map.

Recruitment for the summer of 2024 will begin later in the fall quarter, and to kickstart the process, the Haas Center will host the Cardinal Quarter Opportunities Fair on November 10. At this event, students can explore the wide range of opportunities available and get answers to any questions they might have. Haas Center staff and peer advisors will be on hand to provide support and guidance.

In a world facing challenges—from pandemics to homelessness to climate change—Cardinal Quarter is an excellent example of how a university can support students’ desire to make a difference in their communities. By bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world practice, providing thorough preparation and support throughout the experience, Cardinal Quarter equips students with the tools and knowledge needed to create positive change in communities near and far.

Students shared photos from their summer experiences – view some of them on the Cardinal Quarter Instagram.

Posts from students about their summer fellowship and other service experiences can be found in the Stories section of the Cardinal Service website.

Natasha Charfauros, ’25, received an Indigenous Communities Fellowship to work on food sovereignty at Guåhan Sustainable Culture in Guam, where her family is from.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Natasha Charfauros

Applications are now open for summer 2024.
Apply on the Cardinal Service website