Illinois PIRG Internship and Volunteer Application

A semester of rewarding experience to gain grassroots organizing skills while working to commit our campuses to reduce single-use plastic pollution.

The Illinois PIRG Internship and Volunteer program is designed for college students who are passionate about political engagement and looking to increase their experience in political organizing and strategy. This semester long program provides interns with opportunities to build their leadership skills, political engagement, and interest in advocacy careers. Interns and volunteers will work remotely on one of our campaigns such as the New Voters Project, Break Free From Plastics, Make Textbooks Affordable, and End Hunger and Homelessness.

Internship Program Details

Our approach requires each intern not only to develop expertise in campaign strategy, but also to become skilled in organizing and the political process. As an intern you will work side by side with campus organizers working with students in Illinois.

The Campaigns:

  • New Voters Project: Interns will build coalitions of groups and do voter registration and get-out-the-vote work to increase youth voter turnout in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. The New Voters Project is rigorously nonpartisan.
  • Break Free From Plastics: Interns will raise awareness and grassroots support from our campus community to leverage support for passing campus policy to eliminate single-use plastics. Interns will work to raise the voices of their peers, faculty, and media to show support for action.
  • Make Textbooks Affordable: Interns will work to educate faculty on Open Textbooks to use in their classrooms via individual meetings, working with the Student and Faculty Governments, as well as our librarians to share resources. We will also work statewide to produce grants for faculty to implement open textbooks.
  • End Hunger and Homelessness: With COVID continuing to put economic stress on students and others across the state, we will continue to advocate for federal policy and stipends to make ends meet as well as work to educate the campus about resources available for assistance.

Responsibilities for interns will include:

  • Organizing political support. Illinois PIRG interns will help to broaden the constituency for our campaign, assist in building, organizing, and managing a coalition of groups that are interested in our campaigns.
  • Devising an effective strategy to implement civic engagement plans on college campuses. Interns will work to craft effective tactics for the campus to use to increase participation on campus at all levels and set goals to win the campaigns.
  • Media outreach. Illinois PIRG interns work to get our issues and opinions covered by the media, through news releases, “op-eds,” online webinars, and more.
  • Attending a weekly skills workshop taught and led by Illinois PIRG Campus Organizers.
  • Volunteers are welcome to assist in any of these responsibilities, given the interests of the individual

Examples of potential skills workshops:

  • Digital campaigning- Using social media and other tools to educate and mobilize our communities
  • Working with the media- Generating media coverage on the need to transition away from fossil fuels
  • Running a meeting- From getting the right people in the “room/zoom” to facilitating a productive meeting
  • Building diverse and effective coalitions and mobilizing student leaders
  • Developing winning campaign strategies and tactics
  • Public Speaking– in forums varying from virtual classrooms to town halls and press conferences

Internship Requirements:

  • 7-15 hours per week
  • A commitment to making a difference on issue based campaign work
  • Strong organizational abilities
  • The ability to engage others, whether one-on-one or in a group
  • The ability to think strategically
  • Strong writing and communication skills

Internships are available for undergraduate and graduate students from any major. Previous campaign and/or advocacy experience is a plus.

By providing my contact information, I am consenting to have the Student PIRGs, and their affiliates contact me with information about this and future campaigns.