By Amy Perez
For the start of my Junior year, I had the opportunity to intern at the Student Volunteer Center. I was quite hesitant when initially filling out the application because of the amount of time I knew I had to devote to this internship, but I’m glad I submitted the application. This internship has helped me improve my professionalism within an office place, communication skills, and organizational skills. Also, another wonderful aspect of this internship was getting to meet the directors and other interns. All three of the directors were helpful throughout the quarter and provided us with guidance and advice to ensure that we did our tasks this quarter correctly, but also to improve us for future internships and workplace environments.
During the internship we were tasked with flyering around campus every week, updating contact information for twenty non-profit organizations, and preparing posters for different events that SVC hosted this quarter. For example, we made posters for the Meal Plan Flexi Dollar Drive. This was an event where students could donate unused meal swipes, guest swipes, and flexi dollars to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Every dollar that was donated fed a family of four, which is an amazing charitable act that students are able to be a part of during the holidays season. It’s especially useful since meal swipes don’t roll over into the next quarter so they are not being wasted. As interns for the office, we also tabled for the Meal Plan Flexi Dollar Drive, which involved us being set up in a dining hall for about two hours encouraging students to donate any unused swipes or flexi dollars. Each intern tabled four times at different dining halls to ensure that we had enough time to involve and inform students on how the could help. It was rewarding when students stopped and asked questions about the event or SVC to see what we were doing. Of course, we had students that said no, but every no is just another opportunity to try again. It was an experience that definitely forced me to be more vocal and active. The hardest part of tabling is probably when it gets slow in the dining hall and not a lot of students are coming. However, it was also one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences because with each student that stopped by you could feel the progress that we were making to help families within the local community combat hunger.
Another experience that myself and the other interns were involved with was planning and hosting a fundraiser. For our fundraiser, we chose to fundraise for a non-profit called Jacob’s Heart, which assists families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer. We got to visit Jacob’s Heart and it was evident how much heart and physical effort the people within the office put in for these children. From there, we decided that we would sell boba as it is a drink that typically sells quite well on our campus. We did hit a lot stepping stones along the way, especially with time management and getting the necessary documents. We spent too much on the organization itself instead of the actual forms we needed to ensure that we would be able to set up a table and sell the boba. As a result of this our date got pushed back, but we were ultimately able to resolve any lack of communication we had in the office. Thanks to this experience I would say that my planning skills have improved and made me realize that setting timelines and important dates for events like this are necessary to ensure a well-produced fundraiser. If I ever have to fundraise again, I’ll be ready.
Volunteering at the Student Volunteer Center was a wonderful experience that helped me improve myself professionally and has allowed me to push through my comfort zone. I’d definitely recommend this to any student who has the time and wants to actively help the community.