William Erikson ’13
Major(s): Environmental Studies
Internship Site: Sustain Dane - Madison, WI
I first found out about Sustain Dane through my mother. She works in the same office building, and suggested I email them. I did and after some correspondence and sending in some of my writing samples and previous blogs (for a different non-profit environmental organization), I secured an internship as the summer blogger.
I wrote blogs every couple of days. When I wasn’t blogging, I gathered information on every environmental organization in the Madison area, compiled contact information of professionals, mission statements, how their mission related to Sustain Dane’s, and their overall image and branding. I also examined Priority Driven Budgeting, a new budgeting process which allows for more citizen input in designating city budgets. I found this project to be the most rewarding, time consuming, and enjoyable. I got to speak with lots of city officials in both Cincinnati and Madison and learned about what must be done to get an initiative started and the people who must be involved.
I found balancing my internship, my stats course at the University of Wisconsin, and my part time job painting, was the most difficult part of the experience. I learned a lot about myself, that I can really work hard and for long periods of time, and that to be successful, one must really want to be at the places he or she is at. If it weren’t for how much I enjoyed working at Sustain Dane, my days would have been much longer. This internship was a much-needed relief from painting and statistics. It really pounded home what I enjoy doing and what kind of work I want to get into once I’m out of college.
This internship has made me more familiar with non-profit environmental organizations and the order of operations and daily grind that go into running one successfully. Everyone works so hard and is so invested in the cause. It was exciting in the office every day. It also helped to improve my writing style, which will help me along my career. I really enjoyed expressing my opinion and backing it with science. The priority driven budgeting project also showed me that anyone can get involved with their government just simply through well-written emails that effectively convey what it is you want changed or addressed. I know I can make an impact in any city I may live and work in. It was empowering realizing that by simply emailing the right people, the right way, you can be a catalyst for change.
Tips from William:
Find an organization or business which has a great cause or mission and don’t worry about pay or prestige. It’s all about acquiring skills and meeting people who inspire you to do good work. Working for a non-profit environmental organization has really inspired me to do work which I care about in order to be a happier person and have a more fulfilling career.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.