When I originally joined the Franke Global Leadership Initiative, one of my main intentions was to study abroad. That was until I opted out last minute and settled for a local internship instead. This internship was with MontPIRG, an advocacy group that promotes civic leadership and specializes in several social activities like engaging young voters, lobbying in the state legislature, protecting consumer rights, etc. MontPIRG’s goals situated well with my global theme of culture and politics, and more specifically revolving around elections. Even though uncontrollable events heavily altered the internship mid-semester, I still was able to draw plenty of skills and experiences relating to my global theme.
To explain what I have learned during my internship, here is a brief synopsis of my tumultuous time with MontPIRG. Aside from standing outside and registering voters on campus and in downtown, I was originally tasked with event planning. More specifically, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Festival and the Ballot Initiative Event. Up until that turbulent week prior to spring break, I assumed the role of leader in both of those project; having to organize location, promotion, volunteers/staff, entertainment, food, and beverages. The week after spring break saw my role change. Because of COVID-19 concerns, both events were cancelled, and I was then put in charge of letters-to-the-editor editing and submissions. Both responsibilities required me to step up as a leader, for which I learned that communication is key. I needed to cooperate with members of MontPIRG to setup the events and had to respond with feedback to interns and volunteers on their letters on a consistent basis.
In terms of my global theme and challenge, I was able to grasp a better understanding on our electoral system and how to properly campaign for certain issues. I got to work with influential state senators and representatives to make effective change in the community of Montana. Along with that, I gained more knowledge on differing political opinions from both inside and outside the organization, which have also influenced my own personal political ideology.
All in all, while this internship did not turn out the way I expected, I still learned plenty from this opportunity. These skills and experiences will not only assist me for my Capstone project, but in my future endeavors in law and politics.