Application Deadline: Closed
Timeframe: 01/03/12 — 05/03/12
We all want to make a difference. But too many internships require students to leave their conscience at home. At MASSPIRG, our interns can put their ideals front and center. That’s because interns with MASSPIRG work to achieve concrete, practical changes that benefit the public, on issues ranging from recycling and nuclear energy to campaign finance reform and government transparency, and from genetic engineering to consumer privacy.
Our staff of attorneys and advocates give interns significant responsibilities. Here’s our approach:
• Working side by side with the staff of MASSPIRG in semester long positions, interns focus on real problems that affect people in their daily lives, whether it be funding public transportation or the high cost of prescription drugs.
• As a MASSPIRG intern, you help our staff develop a program around one or more of these issues. You help study the problem and then break it down into a manageable project, one in which the outcome can be influenced by the right combination of careful research, a smart political strategy, and demonstrable public support.
• While much of MASSPIRG’s work centers on the legislative arena, MASSPIRG takes issues to whatever forum offers the best hope of winning concrete results. We file lawsuits, testify at administrative hearings, and sponsor shareholder resolutions. We do whatever it takes to get things done, often against stiff opposition from powerful corporate lobbyists or entrenched politicians.
U.S.PIRG 4 Part-time, Unpaid Responsibilities
• Creating new policy ideas. The problems are easy to identify, but practical, feasible solutions are harder to come by. A MASSPIRG intern helps our staff survey the current best thinking on the issue and think through the best policy options.
• Devising an effective strategy. Whether a MASSPIRG proposal becomes public policy is often a matter of how the problem is framed for public debate, who is seen to be for and against the proposal, and whether we have made a persuasive case to the public. A MASSPIRG intern helps our staff combine these elements into an effective public interest campaign.
• Conducting investigative research. Facts, figures and examples are the bedrock of any intelligent public policy debate. A MASSPIRG intern pulls together the research on an issue in order to illustrate the problem, and demonstrate the viability of the proposed solution.
• Drafting legislation. The devil, as they say, is in the details, and nowhere more so than in the legislative process. A MASSPIRG intern helps craft legislation and keeps an eye out for unfriendly amendments.
• Lobbying. Whether it is a U.S. senator or a state representative, each decision-maker must be convinced on the merits, in person whenever possible. The style of advocacy employed by the state PIRGs was best summed up by Washington Post columnist David Broder many years ago: “politely persistent.”
• Media outreach. The spotlight of media attention helps to inform the public, offer new perspectives on old problems, and put decision-makers on notice that the public is watching their actions. A MASSPIRG intern works to get our issues and opinions covered by the media, through news releases, press conferences, interviews, ” op-eds,” new Web sites, and more.
• Organizing political support. When public interest proposals meet special interest resistance, public support can provide the push to overcome political opposition. A MASSPIRG intern helps to broaden the constituency for our proposals, assisting in building, organizing, and managing a coalition that works to sway decision-makers.
U.S.PIRG 4 Part-time, Unpaid Requirements
A strong commitment to public interest issues. The ability to frame a debate on your own terms. The ability to engage others, whether one-on-one or in a group. The ability to think strategically. A willingness to engage in creative conflict, to persevere, and to lead by example.
Most MASSPIRG interns are graduate students in law, public policy or environmental studies, but students in any area of study may apply, including undergraduates. Intern supervisors provide ongoing training. Previous campaign and/or advocacy experience is a plus.
How To Apply
Interested students should submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Gabriela Camargo, Internship Coordinator: email [email protected]
We are currently working to fill positions for the Spring 2012 semester. Applications are being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.