SPC Interns: Where Are They Now?
Saptarshi Lahiri

SPC summer 2009 interns Staci Schweitzer, Tivona Renoni and Sara on our Facebook page.
Le Roux-Watrous show off their paper crane folding skills. Photo:
Carol Baum

As the PNL committee put together this special section on student/youth activism, we realized many of the young people involved with SPC come to us as student interns, and we wondered what our many past interns were up to now. Are they activist lifers? Have they moved onto other things?

Some have indeed moved on. After graduating from Bennington with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Playwriting, Cailin Neal (SPC winter intern, January 2007) lived in NYC doing theater work for a while and is currently living in Istanbul for the summer, working as an au pair. In September, she moves to Amsterdam for another year as an au pair for a new family and is excited to live in a culture where the arts are highly regarded and encouraged. Her general plans to travel, sample new cultures, and pick up a new language are supporting a more specific goal of becoming a translator. Her long term plans include a focus on improving children’s quality of life.

Sara Le Roux-Watrous, a 2009 summer intern, hasn’t really moved that far away, literally and figuratively—she recently joined the Peace Council Steering Committee and is currently busy writing her master’s thesis on immigration and local food systems. She fondly recollects her time spent as an intern: “I worked on so many different tasks during my four months here...but Hiroshima Day planning proved to be one of my favorites. I enjoyed doing the paper crane workshops with youth around the city. And this is why I began to really see the need to get more youth, especially high school students, involved in activism. My only regret is not having enough time to make that project a reality,” she testifies. Elaborating on her involvement at SPC, Sara describes the diversity of her tasks during her four month tenure, which included working on the newsletter, working behind the scenes at the Arts and Crafts Festival, as well as organizing a vigil after the slaying of Dr. Tiller [medical director of a women’s health clinic in Kansas]. She signs off by underscoring how the little things at SPC were the most memorable, such as communal lunches, or the general spirit of open-mindedness, as well as the democratic processes undergirding participation at SPC meetings.

Just after she left for the summer, spring 2011 intern Elisabeth Hess wrote a brief reflection on her experience at the Peace Council. “My internship at the Syracuse Peace Council made me aware of the Syracuse community at large...I learned that small, local efforts make big changes in the lives of others,” she avers, going on to describe the emotionally-charged experience of hearing Art for Peace contest winners share their poems about personal struggles with stereotyping and discrimination as an “irreplaceable experience.” Elisabeth, an advertising major at  the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, also felt she gained valuable professional skills by having the responsibility to design promotional materials, contact professionals and create press releases. She believed that level of freedom was “unique for an internship position,” and shared that, “the Peace Council…inspired me to get active in the movement for social change.”

Would you like to share an anecdote about a previous internship experience, or get us up to speed about your life post-SPC? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us at pnl@peacecouncil.net, write or call the office, or post a message on our Facebook page.

 


Saptarshi Lahiri is finishing his thesis at Syracuse University and recently joined the Peace Newsletter committee.