Professional Internship in Community Sustainability
The purpose of the internship is to provide the student breadth and depth in a professional work experience in their field. This experience must be a minimum of 400 work hours.
Breadth includes involvement in a number of aspects of the organization rather than an exclusive focus on just one task, such as a typical seasonal job would entail. Breadth also involves using the array of knowledge gathered by one’s senior status in their major, whether Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Environmental Studies and Sustainability; or Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Education. It reflects coursework in the core concepts and foundations of sustainability and specific knowledge about operations, administration, planning and management in the student’s chosen major, whether in the public, non-profit or commercial arena.
Depth entails regular student reflection in the form of weekly reports submitted to and feedback received from the major’s internship coordinator, as well as more in-depth modules and a special project that provides a direct benefit to the organization hiring the intern and involves the instructor in an advisory role.
The key result of the internship is that the intern will have a far greater understanding of the day-to-day professional responsibilities in their field and strengthen their professional network. Another is that a successful internship may lead to a strong recommendation from the intern’s organizational supervisor as well as their major’s CSUS Internship Coordinator. It may also lead to a job offer with the internship organization. In summary, the internship is more dependent than any other course in the student’s degree program on the student bringing his/her knowledge, skills and abilities to bear on a daily basis in their chosen field. It is a capstone course and should be done when the student is a senior so they bring a strong knowledge and experience base to the internship.
CSUS strongly supports and recommends CSUS students have a paid internship, rather than unpaid one, as it better values the student’s knowledge, effort and commitment to the internship organization and their career. In practical terms, it also reduces the student’s financial burdens.