The IU Student Association is accepting applications for the Freshman Internship Program now through Sept. 8.
“It’s fairly new, yet it’s still highly regarded,” said Rachel Martinez, IUSA chief of outreach and former program participant. “It’s a great opportunity for freshmen to come in, get their feet wet in student government and potentially look to higher levels of involvement, not only in our organization, but any organization on campus.”
The semester-long program pairs program participants with a particular senior staff member under a specific department. Interns then assist the senior staff member with the department’s current initiatives.
Martinez was paired with former IUSA President Kyle Straub. “I was very lucky to be paired under him,” Martinez said. “He was great. I learned a lot, obviously so much that it helped carry my journey with IUSA.”
Program participants also enroll in a one-credit-hour course where they listen to speakers, attend resume workshops and learn interview skills.
In small groups, students brainstorm, research and present their own initiative to the class.
Some initiatives, such as Light Up IU, a program designed to add more lights on campus, are even implemented.
“And more so than making the implementation onto campus, it helps students to see what that process is for the future of their student government career,” Martinez said. “And also, it creates a passion within each student as to what kinds of things that they would like to see changed...it gives students the opportunity to really dive into the world of student government and the possibilities that lie within it.”
Program participants can expect to devote one to three hours per week to the program, Martinez said, though ambitious interns are welcome to devote more.
“It is what you make it, so if it’s something where you really want to dedicate all of that time, then you’re more than welcome to,” Martinez said.
Applicants provide their high school GPA, intended majors and minors, fall semester credit hours and responses to several extended response questions.
A fraction of the applicants are then invited to group interviews. Roughly 20 students are selected.
“More so than any GPA or any high school you attended, we want to know that you have a passion for being involved and impacting other peers,” Martinez said.
Mohammed Issa, former Freshman Internship Program co-director, said he agrees that applicants heavily involved in high school stand out.
“We only gave them a hundred words and they would fill it up with activities they did,” Issa said. “We definitely differentiated between stuff written for no reason and stuff with real substance.”
The application and interview process are worth it, Martinez said.
“To be able to come into this internship program and watch all the things that happen here on a large scale, it really inspires you to want to move forward,” Martinez said. “And that’s what I love about student government, the fact that it’s students making an impact on their peers in a professional way. We’re not trying to think of things and not implement them.”
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