Yesterday was my last day of work after six weeks at the Scrap Exchange. The first week we made educational materials for reuse arts districts including infographics, a handout, and a slideshow presentation. After that we researched fundraising and put together a spreadsheet of grants that could be used for the funding of the revitalization of the Reuse Arts District. This first part of the internship is where I felt like I learned the most simply because it was mainly researching on the computer. I learned a lot about what exactly a creative reuse arts center is and the process behind looking for grants that fund projects.
After this, we spent a week painting benches and tables that are now in the gravel area right in front of the Scrap Exchange. Another intern that was with us was artistically inclined, so I’m incredibly pleased with how they turned out. Each of the benches has a unique design on it. After this period of manual labor, our final project was putting together a social media strategic plan for the Scrap Exchange. Although the internship wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated (I expected to be immersed into the business side of the Scrap Exchange a bit more) I still think it was a valuable experience overall.
Consider that none of our work really had immediately noticeable effects. For instance, our research, though certainly important, won’t have concrete applications until a few years in the future. The service projects that we did were mainly sorting and processing merchandise that would go out onto the floor. For example, one of our service projects was sorting seashells into jars. Although this did feel more menial than, say, working one-on-one with people or volunteering at food banks, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this kind of service has less value. Those seashells can be used as a gift to make someone’s day. Moreover, our work was directly diverting trash from landfills. In my time thus far, I’ve begun to develop a fuller understanding and appreciation of what service is, and what sort of things are worth putting time toward.