It’s hard to believe this internship is coming to an end. I have learned so much since I started. I remember the first video we had to watch for orientation: Food Mythbusters’ “Do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?” At the time, I thought I knew much more than I actually did, and that I was better at community organizing than I actually was. I have become much more skilled in time management, especially when coordinating with many other people’s schedules. My Google calendar has been invaluable and I have definitely become addicted to mapping out my day. That is especially helpful for my time management of classes and professor’s office hours this upcoming semester.
Along with more effective time management skills, I have also learned to be a much more independent learner. I’m better at knowing when to ask questions, and when to use trial and error to figure out the best method.
I’m very excited to bring my new found organizing skills back to Brandeis with me. I feel so much more prepared to successfully lead Poverty Action Coalition throughout the next semester, which will be packed with activities and events. I’ll also be a Half the Sky ambassador at Brandeis, which will mean a lot more organization on my part. I can’t wait to use engage in conversations and activities revolving around issues I’m passionate about, especially now that I can speak knowledgeably on many more issues than I could before the summer started.
Now that I have completed my internship, I would love to get involved with different aspects of campaign organization. So much more goes into running campaigns than I realized. I would really like to work a bit with the communications department or development within an organization, to learn a bit more about a different kind of membership outreach. I would also like to recruit a much larger crowd to join Brandeis’ Poverty Action Coalition and network with other groups to help do that.
One of the most important aspects of community organizing is to always connect and ask questions when you’re speaking with people. This goes for everyone – people you spoke with two days ago, to family, friends, and especially those who you’ve never talked to before. Sometimes it feels very unnatural, but the trick is to remember that this is what you do everyday – you connect with your friends and family, and conversation peaks curiosity. Organizing works the same way, and sometimes it really helps to take a step back and remember the person you’re talking to is a unique individual, with unique things happening in his or her life, and in all likelihood would love to talk to you about them.
Additionally, in community organizing as with any field, connection is vital not only to organize, but to network! This is important not only for job-hunting, but also for getting ahead with whatever campaign or project you’re working on. You never know when someone may have a connection that can help you with what you’re working on, including the members who fund and support your organization – they are often times your most essential and most willing resources and volunteers.
Before I started this internship, I definitely put a lot more emphasis on individual actions when it came to social justice-related grassroots organizing. I now see that grassroots organizing is a lot more structural than I realized. When it comes to social justice actions, connecting with other people is key. When you are speaking to another individual who feels the same way that you do about a particular issue, it is important to connect on that issue, and to talk about its importance. This is why I’m so excited to lead a viewing of the new Food Mythbusters short video being released in September – I can’t wait to connect with others about their concerns with issues involving big agriculture.