Tuesday, October 22

USAC restarts student government internship program

After a three-year hiatus, the undergraduate student government
presidential internship program has been reimplemented to provide
students with leadership skills.

More than 40 interns in the Undergraduate Students Association
Council’s Presidential Empowerment Internship program are
scheduled to be placed in the various USAC offices this week, where
they will gain first-hand experience in working in an undergraduate
government setting.

“(The purpose of the program) is to give students a great
knowledge of the history of the campus and of the structures that
run it,” said the USAC president, Anica McKesey.

The internship aims to galvanize student interest in leadership
and activism by providing information on controversial issues,
teaching interns the workings of a student government, and giving
students the tools necessary to bring about change.

As part of the program, interns must attend 10 mandatory
workshops throughout the year. During the workshops, students are
introduced to controversial issues affecting the campus, such as
affirmative action, labor issues and issues of gender and
sexuality. The purpose of the workshop is to give interns the
skills they need to take action about the issues they feel most
strongly about.

“We hope to see students start critically looking at
campus issues and take an active role,” said intern
coordinator Yousef Tajsar, who is also on the students’
association board of directors.

Toward the end of the academic year, interns will have the
opportunity to meet with former USAC officers in a workshop forum,
Tajsar added.

During her campaign for the USAC presidency, McKesey said one of
her goals was to reimplement the internship program. The program
started during former USAC President Kandea Mosely’s term
throughout the 1997-1998 academic year. McKesey was an intern when
the program was last offered in the 1999-2000 academic year under
Mike de la Rocha’s presidency.

“I definitely saw the purpose of the internship … and I
think we needed a leadership development program on campus,”
McKesey said.

At Thursday’s workshop, interns will be placed in the
councilmember’s office of their choice.

First-year undeclared student Lucero Chavez expressed interest
in the president’s office and said she joined the internship
program to become more politically conscious.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to get involved in
terms of student affairs and to see how student leadership
works,” Chavez said.

Chavez, who was the class president of her high school, added
that she also wanted to see the differences in student leadership
between the two institutions.

Councilmembers expressed enthusiasm in welcoming the interns to
their offices.

The financial supports commissioner, Erica Husse, said she hopes
her interns will learn more about financial issues affecting the
student population, such as financial aid.

“Even students involved on financial aid don’t
understand a lot of issues. … I would hope (the interns) would
get familiarity with that,” Husse said.

The external vice president, Matt Kaczmarek, said his interns
will work with the external issues his office oversees, such as
state and national affairs.

“I want interns to get a sense of the opportunity and
possibilities they can get from the offices they work with,”
Kaczmarek said.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.