This internship was an incredible opportunity to learn about local politics, campaigns, and how to build grassroots movements. I was assigned to work on the staff of a Sierra Club endorsed candidate - running for State Representative in Massachusetts. Given the small staff capacity and small scale of the race, I was able to get my hands dirty with a range of work, that I wouldn't have been able to be a part of on a larger campaign. This included developing fundraising, volunteer recruitment, social media & digital strategy, field & data plans, phone & text banking, website design, policy research, and applying for endorsements. Although these tasks were challenging and labor intensive, the internship allowed me to be an active part of day-to-day campaign work - giving me a holistic understanding of campaigning, and an invaluable skill set that will allow me to go forward in the field of advocacy and policy making.
What I wish was different
Completing this internship during COVID presented serious challenges throughout the summer. Although this didn't make the internship experience any less worthwhile, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in political, environmental, or activism work - there were things that I wish were different. Working remotely meant that I had no ability to develop a sense of community with the other Sierra Club Political Interns or with the campaign staff, candidate, or community where I was assigned. I also was working on a campaign for a seat representing a Boston suburb, where I have spent little time. This meant that I had no real understanding of the community, its culture, challenges, demography, and history - and while I could read about all of those things online, fighting for change in a place I'd never visited felt very abstract. While I anticipate these factors changing in future summers, when interns are not navigating the remote work environment caused by a pandemic, they added challenges to my summer.