Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Save Our Springs Alliance

Summer 2019

 

Position: Summer Outreach Intern
Student: Sustainability Studies Junior

This summer I had a paid internship with the Save Our Springs Alliance, an environmental non-profit organization that is based in Austin. The purpose of the organization is to provide legal support for water-based rights such as protection of Barton Springs, the area encompassing the Edward's Aquifer, and equity in city council as well as the Austin Community. What drew me to this organization was their will to continue fighting unjust cases and permits even though everyone else had given up. 

My title was Summer Outreach Intern, the goal this semester was to sell 300 memberships to locals and visitors. These memberships are necessary for SOS as they help prove legitimacy in court and during sessions. We are also tasked with keeping up with the weekly newsletter, as we are there to bridge the communication gap between visitors of the pool and the environmentalists behind the scenes. I was one of the few people on the team that was bilingual in Spanish so this internship also opened the doors to talk about Sustainability. Although it was not required, it was a great learning experience translating information on my time off, I was able to pick up many new terms and manners of introducing goals to members of the Spanish-speaking community.

My shifts always went by very fast as we work typically in groups of four. Every member knew what was expected of them in terms of setting up the table, selling merch, and talking with patrons. To summarize may average workday I would say I was required to be a representative of the organization. It was important to be professional as well, by arriving on time, minimizing complaints and doing my best to communicate environmental efforts that largely go under the radar!

Position: Summer Outreach Intern
Student: Sustainability Studies and Government Junior

The designated training days prepared me with all the information needed to have intellectual conversations with other professionals in my field as well as regular people. There was a full day of training at the Springs, showing us the important locations that we will be asked about by visitors, as well as various cool facets that often get overlooked. On our second day of training, we spent hours communicating with environmental lawyers and practicing tabling techniques with different passerby scenarios. This prepared us intellectually as well as made us closer to the other interns, making us more of a unit.

On the job, I had to combine the days of training, college level science, as well as muster up my own charisma and courage. No matter how many training days you have, in order to succeed at this internship, you must be approachable and outgoing. Every tabling sessions would be a group of 3 other interns to set up with and bounce energy off of. It takes courage to stand in front of the tent in hot Texas summer and reach out to people who just want to cool off in the springs. Often times, we were rejected or just used as a FAQ site for tourists. No matter how many times you hear "no", you have to keep your spirits high and talk to another person.

My time at Save Our Springs has been rewarding and I plan on staying involved. But it takes a certain kind of person to maintain positive after repeated rejection, and constantly putting yourself out there. My only complaint is that after the first day of training, we never again spent time with or spoke to the employed environmental lawyers for Save Our Springs. 

Position: Intern Assistant Manager/Outreach and Education Intern
Student: Philosophy Junior

This summer, I did an internship in the outreach and education department of an Austin environmental non-profit called Save Our Springs Alliance. Save Our Springs has a great summer intern program that was great for my busy schedule and my interests in sustainability education from a non-profit base. At its core, the summer intern outreach position consists of tabling at Barton Springs Pool every weekend, trying to educate pool patrons about the work that the non-profit does for central Texas water quality (including Barton Springs and other bodies of water in Austin). We set up the table at different spots every day. We also sell what we call “memberships” to Save Our Springs Alliance. To become a member of the Alliance, people can make a one-time donation of at least $10, but lots of people choose to donate more. This membership shows support for the work that Save Our Springs does for water quality in central Texas, and the more members we have, the more legitimacy we have in cases that our lawyers bring to court. For example, if our lawyers at Save Our Springs are fighting a new highway expansion on top of the recharge zone in the 78704 zip code, and we had no members living in the 78704 zip code, then we would not have the standing to fight this highway on legal grounds because we would technically have no support. The interns also sell Save Our Springs merchandise like t shirts and towels at the table. Intern responsibilities include making sure our tabling supplies are stocked, staying engaged and friendly to pool patrons at the table, to be well –versed on current Save Our Springs news, and to keep track of membership and merchandise sales throughout the tabling shift. Interns handle cash, operate the Square point of sales system, and must ensure that all sales are well documented. As an intern manager, I do all of this as well as help to hire new interns, make the schedule so that interns know when they will be tabling, transporting all of the interns and supplies to the pool, and helping to keep the books regarding all sales we make throughout the summer.

 


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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508
    512-471-7900