My First Week at Oregon Environmental Council
Post by Hosana Medhanie
As a recent graduate of Willamette University, I set out to find an internship that would allow me to get involved with environmental protection and sustainability because it’s an area I am excited in exploring further. Fortunately, this summer I have the opportunity to work as OEC’s Environmental Leadership and Justice Intern. OEC has partnered with Emerging Leaders Internship Program (ELI), a program that provides college students with paid internships at top companies in Portland. ELI’s goal is to bring underrepresented groups — first generation students, low-income students, and students of color — into Portland businesses, which will prepare them to be future leaders. Essentially, the ELI Program is meant to benefit Portland’s corporate world and community in the long term because it sustains Portland’s very own talent to create more representation, innovation, and collaboration.
My first week at OEC was pretty eventful because I had the opportunity to sit in at a few meetings and I attended a staff party at Pips and Bounce. I appreciate that I was immediately immersed into OEC by attending a weekly staff meeting on my first day where everyone was so inviting. At Pips and Bounce, we had appetizers and played ping pong. The staff party was a great way for me to get to know my co-workers in a different setting and for them to get to know me as well. During the party, two OEC volunteers were given the Kevin Rose Award. Kevin Rose was a former volunteer at OEC and after he passed away in 2014 his family dedicated an award with contributions in his honor that would be given to OEC volunteers who make a difference. I also attended an all day meeting with the OEC staff and board of directors at a beautiful vineyard, which helped me learn about OEC from a behind-the-scenes perspective.
Since my first week, I feel that I’ve adjusted well into the office. I genuinely feel welcomed by everyone and have enjoyed learning about the impact that OEC has on Oregon. A few important lessons I’ve learned so far are how to incorporate green cleaning at home, how to write business profiles, and how to comprehend proposed bills in order to do research for testimonies.
What I hope to learn and experience in the next few weeks are shadowing the different teams and exploring more into the kind of work that they do. I’m grateful that I have the chance to work with the marketing and communications team because I’m gaining exposure to environmental communications, which I am interested in getting more involved with.
Interning at OEC has been a worthwhile experience so far because they are changing lives and protecting Oregon’s land, water, and air. I think the kind of work that the toxic-free environment, climate protection, and clean water teams are doing here is incredible because they are working to protect what they love about Oregon. It’s been an eye-opening and empowering experience to work in an environment that truly is doing amazing work.
Hosana is the Environmental Leadership and Justice Intern for Oregon Environmental Council.