A Surprising Success

Last Friday a friend and I posted several hundred internship descriptions, color-coded by state, type of organization, or pay/no-pay status around the spiral staircase of Baker Hall at Carnegie Mellon University. What I wanted to do was post signs inviting students to take internship descriptions in which they were interested. However, if these signs glowered from the walls and all of the descriptions stayed stationary, it would be an energy-suck and depressing.

But without signs, they are doing it anyway! Around 2/3 of the internship descriptions we posted have been taken down. I’ve seen students reading them, heard nice things from professors, and had to consolidate the pieces of paper so they wouldn’t look so lonely. I look forward to doing this event next semester!

If anyone wants to do something similar somewhere else, here was my process:

  1. Got permission to use the stair-case for a little over a week.
  2. Got funding for the paperclips, stickies, and colored paper.
  3. Worked with volunteers (using usajobs.gov and idealist.org) to print out internships in the public interest, both paid and unpaid.
  4. Worked with a volunteer to categorize all of these printed internship descriptions.
    1. We first sorted them by due deadlines–before November 15th, in December, before March 15th, and rolling deadlines.
    2. Then we color-coded them by location and type. See our legend at 1:02.
    3. (Location = red: south / orange: midwest / yellow: west / green: east coast / blue: washington dc)
    4. (Type = Yellow sticky-notes: non-profit / Green sticky = paid / Pink sticky = government / white sticky with lady-bugs = international)
  5. Hang internship descriptions around prominent spiral staircase, on nice neutral-toned thread attached to the wall by non-damaging adhesive hooks.

(You may have noticed a lot of videos this week–I borrowed a flip camera from the College of Fine Art’s lending program to document my events. I just turned it back in, so this will probably be my last video for a while!)

Inspirational Quote:

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.”–Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

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