Summer Internships: Katie Schroeer '24
Name: Katie Schroeer
Class Year: 2024
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Northfield, MN
Internship Organization: MN350
Job Title: Green New Deal Intern
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Hi there! Have you heard of the People’s Climate and Equity Plan?
This is how I have greeted countless strangers this summer in the parks, streets, and community centers of Minneapolis, Minnesota. As an intern with MN350’s Green New Deal team, I have been working to build support for a piece of local legislation which focuses on funding climate action and racial equity measures. I and five other interns are responsible for coordinating and conducting outreach efforts throughout the summer in order to spread the word and build a large base of supportive constituents before the plan comes to a vote at the City Council in a few months.
Most of my work involves moving people up the ladder of involvement, one rung at a time. I introduce strangers to the basics of the plan, encourage those on the email list to attend an event, and persuade attendees to host outreach events of their own. Outside of talking to residents and volunteers, on any given day, I might be entering new contacts into our database, writing my script and reviewing breakout rooms for a Zoom event, or researching other cities’ climate action planning processes, looking to see what we could do better.
Having been part of many different student-led political or activist efforts, this summer I hoped to see the workings of a campaign run by a professional organization, and MN350 provided that opportunity. The ability to be present for so many different components of the process, from all different forms of
recruitment to strategy discussions to database tutorials, has been the most rewarding part of this experience - though all these moving parts can also be overwhelming and challenging to keep track of. I have a new appreciation for all that goes into a campaign after working with the various staff and specialized volunteers who run MN350’s social media, can use software to send an email to the right 200 people out of a list of thousands, and know the elements of a persuasive campaign call.
Finally, I have found myself half-consciously connecting discussion topics from class to my work as an intern. All year, in classes like Social Movement Theory and People, Power, and Politics in Philadelphia, I learned about groups of people that had come together to change their communities for the better. As I learn the ropes of helping coordinate a larger-scale campaign, it has been so exciting to feel my academic base of knowledge and on-the-job experiences informing each other. My supervisor explains the ideal time and method to follow up with a potential volunteer, and I think back to readings about recruitment and building commitment. While helping plan a press conference in front of Xcel Energy, Minnesota’s largest energy provider, I remembered a different climate justice movement I had researched, and the various kinds of leverage they had used to achieve their goals. I look forward to doing the same thing in reverse this fall: holding new academic frameworks up to my experiences with MN350, to see what clashes and what fits.
350.org is building the climate movement all across the globe! Visit their website to see what work they are doing near you.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.