Students for a Better World: The Beyond the Classroom Blog

Stories, Resources, & More from the Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Program at University of Maryland

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Internship at the Sierra Club Illustrates Importance of Government and Nonprofit Collaboration


By Colleen McMullen, BTC Student

This semester, I worked for the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club as a water protection intern. As a biodiversity and conservation biology major at the University of Maryland, I have a strong interest protecting the environment. I was very drawn to this organization for the array of environmental issues it addresses and the unique club experience it offers its members. Working with the Maryland Sierra Club has been a very enlightening and valuable experience that has taught me a great deal about Maryland’s environment and the inner workings of a grassroots organization. Continue reading


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A Semester of Discovery at Bread for the World

Hermela Capitol

The author, at left, pictured in front of the Capitol with other Bread for the World interns at a lobby day on Capitol Hill.

By Hermela Hailemeskel, BTC Student

“One in 6 people struggle with hunger, 5 in 6 can help.”

This semester, I was able to follow my passion to help end hunger. I had the opportunity to intern in the Church Relations Department of Bread for the World, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to urge decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad through advocacy. I initially learned about Bread for the World last semester in the Beyond the Classroom UNIV325 Seminar class. Continue reading

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American Security Project: An Internship That Matters

Editor’s Note:  Every semester, BTC presents awards to students who have exceeded program expectations.  For the Spring 2013 semester, Kevin Lalama was awarded the Internship Excellence award for his work with the American Security Project, highlighted below.

By Kevin Lalama, BTC Student

As part of my Beyond the Classroom (BTC) experience, and to fulfill my UNIV326 requirement, I am currently interning at the American Security Project (ASP) in Washington, DC. Had it not been for BTC, I would have never applied to a nonprofit organization, I would have never found ASP, and most certainly would never have had the experiences from this semester. My time in UNIV325 last year prepared me for the internship search, interviews, and overall success in the nonprofit sector. Continue reading

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Immigration Rally Provides Hands-On Lesson in Advocacy

By Randolph Tidd, BTC Student

Video by the author from the Rally for Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court on March 26, 2013 for Beyond the Classroom:

On April 10, I attended a rally for immigration supporters at the west entrance to the Capitol. From the moment I arrived at the top of the Union Station Metro Station, I became part of the steady stream of rally goers headed towards the Capitol grounds. It was obvious this was going to one of the most organized political rallies of the year. The e-mail alerts from Casa de Maryland didn’t seem that different from other events held in previous years. This year, however, the immigrant community has found new energy in the wake of last year’s election, and the impact should continue to reverberate at many levels. Continue reading

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Internship Experience at American Forests Serves as Preparation for Life After Graduation

by Tacy Lambiase, BTC Student

I knew last semester that I wanted a spring internship that would teach me valuable communication skills. Since I want to pursue a career incommunications with some kind of emphasis on sustainability or environmental education after graduation, I looked for openings at organizations related to environmental activism and conservation. After finding out about American Forests, a conservation nonprofit in Washington, D.C., and securing an internship working with their communications department, I am pleased to say that I have certainly learned valuable skills over the past few months that I can use in my post-graduation life. Continue reading

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Community Service with Neighborhood Farm Initiative Teaches About Local Gardening Efforts

by Julia Tuvin, BTC Student

NFI works to change underutilized land into healthy gardens in DC.

NFI works to change underutilized land into healthy gardens in DC.

On a Saturday morning in early April, Beyond the Classroom students participated in a community service gardening project with the Neighborhood Farm Initiative. The students who volunteered were active participants in transforming the garden to prepared for the planting season.

Together volunteers who regularly work at the garden and BTC  students were assigned tasks to do in the garden. Some people were leveling and weeding soil so new plants could be planted. Some made a trail so there was a distinct spot to step so gardeners would not step on the growing plants. Some measured twelve-inch squares so plants to educate people who have little space on how much can be grown in one square foot. Volunteers also organized irrigation hosing so water will be able to get to every plant. All the volunteers were able to help in some way, and by the end of the morning, all the tasks were completed.

One question readers might be asking themselves is, why did Beyond the Classroom volunteer with the Neighborhood Farm Initiative? Continue reading

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Internship Provides a Real Life Lesson in Engagement and Advocacy

by Andrea Glauber, BTC Student

Since the Fall 2012 semester, I have been working at an internship in the Department of Public Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children. My work focuses mostly on field policy and global development issues, making the experience relevant to my coursework in Beyond the Classroom.

Save the Children’s international policies have recently focused on two topics: 1) Humanitarian assistance in conflict-ridden areas such as Syria, and 2) The international development agenda after the deadline of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). My first task as an intern was to plan a roundtable discussion for 60 members of civil society, featuring a panel of experts on the United Nations’ post-2015 development framework. In July 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons to advise him on the issues that should be prioritized in the future. The discussion emphasized the importance of input from civil society in contributing to the framework, a real-life example of the kind of advocacy and citizen engagement we learn about in Beyond the Classroom. Continue reading