Quincy University Student Intern Benefits from "Remarkable Experience" at Sierra Club

This summer, I interned at the Sierra Student Coalition that is a part of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is a one of the largest grassroots environmental organizations in the nation that takes a stance on conserving the environment. As a part of the Sierra Student Coalition, I worked as a liaison between the older Sierra Club environmentalists and the youth environmentalists. We train youth to be environmental leaders in their campuses and communities, while also teaching them why the environmental movement is so crucial for the sustainability of the planet.

Working for one of the largest grassroots environmental organizations in the world as a young environmentalist made me jump for joy, but also intimidated me. My main duties included administrative and logistic work for the Sierra Student Coalitions Summer Programs (SPROG) that took place all around the country and the Sierra Student Coalitions National Gathering (Shindig) that is happening in the fall. I took care of all the finances for SPROG, which is pretty intimidating to a person who has not handled more than one thousand dollars in her lifetime. However, I adapted well and ran checks, approved foundation transfers, and made sure the 100+ young people attending SPROG had their tuition paid and required forms submitted. Also I helped with the logistics of both SPROG and Shindig: the who, what, why, where, and how is very important in order to accurately plan and execute an event. One of my favorite and most recent projects has been helping put together plans for the New York Climate March. It will be the biggest climate march in history, and I was able to help figure out plans for it with the Sierra Student Coalition.

Even though I may sound like Wonder Woman right now, this is not the case. I have tripped and stumbled a bit through my journey in the SSC. Some lessons I have learned are that logistics and the small details are truly important and crucial to efficiently execute an event. Another is, as an intern, I truly do matter at the Sierra Student Coalition. The work I do does matter, and the organization and details I produce help events run smoothly with the work I do. I was relied on to be responsible and efficient with the jobs I took on. I believe this has helped me grow professionally, being responsible for the details of such large projects made me see and understand event planning thoroughly while also understanding the responsibility I would have if I pursued a career in campaigning or event planning. The Sierra Club also did a great job with including interns on the inner working of the office by providing a lunch time lecture they called “brown bag presentations” from different people in the office who explained what they do. I have never met a group of more dedicated people before coming to the Club.

All in all, my internship has truly been a remarkable experience that I will not just let end when I leave Washington D.C. I plan on continuing to stay involved with volunteering for the SSC, attending the Peoples Climate March, and keeping in touch with my awesome supervisors! I hope to pursue a career in programming and event planning one day, so this internship gave me an insight into that world while also teaching me to be a true advocate for a safer more sustainable environment. I have truly grown professional and as a person through this experience. Internships are relevant and important; they are a cheat to getting a taste of the real world while also not having the full responsibility of real life or life after school. I am glad I took on this experience this summer!
— Julianne Touhy, Sierra Club intern and Quincy University student