Lance DeMuth
Spring Semester

Northwest Renewable Energy Festival Internship

I began this internship by contacting my sponsor Kevin Scribner. Planning for the festival had begun months before I started the internship, so my first objective was to become acquainted with the goals, participants, and style of the NWREF. After our initial meeting Kevin, Mary (the other NWREF intern), and I established a regular meeting time on Friday afternoons. I also began to attend the meetings of the NWREF’s executive committee. Much of my time early in the internship was spent familiarizing myself with the Festival, the work which had already been placed into Festival, and the people and organizations involved in the planning of the Festival. Regular attendance at the meetings of the executive committee was essential for this initial process. Research into other local and national energy fairs was also conducted, particularly on the web, to give me a fuller idea of what a completed energy festival should look like.

My first project for the festival began by advocating the idea of obtaining a logo for the festival by arranging a campus wide logo design contest, rather then by paying a graphic design company to create a logo professionally. I organized and advertised that contest, by e-mailing the entire campus several times, resulting in the two designs that were used for the festival.

My original intent when I began the internship was to work primarily on the children’s educational portion of the Festival. Towards this end I researched the logistics of printing passport booklets that children visiting the fair could complete as they moved from booth to booth. Completion of the booklet would enter the child into a prize raffle; this incentive would hopefully keep children interested in the many booths at the Festival. Initial research performed on the web was discouraging, as anything with a binding became very expensive on all of the sites that I found. I eventually contacted Henry Savelesky, a local printer, who confirmed that to produce a mass quantity of bound booklets would be beyond the Festival’s budget range.

Kevin Scribner, my original contact, had told Mary and me that he was working on a large project that we could help prepare for the Festival. It was my expectation throughout much of the internship that once ready, this project would be my primary concern. Unfortunately, at the beginning of April Kevin told us that the project would not be ready in time for the Festival.

My final project was to write an informative article for the Whitman Pioneer about the NWREF. The article will serve as a means to inform the campus about the Festival, as well as to request volunteer assistance for the Festival. It should be published in the first Pioneer released fall semester, next academic year.

In hindsight I would have arranged multiple possible projects for myself, which I could work on at my leisure anytime throughout the semester. In a major creative and organizational project like the festival, many ideas that look promising do not work out. Several times during this semester I was left hanging when the project I was working on fell through. If I had anticipated these occurrences, and had multiple projects on the side lines, I feel as if I could have made more efficient use of my time by eliminating the lag that ensued while I was searching for a new project to work on.

An organizational alteration in the way the NWREF internship is run could also have the same effect. All of the other internships have at least semi-specific goals and expectations. The Festival is a large endeavor and its planning is far underway by the time the spring interns become involved with it. Assigning interns to the Festival as a whole forces them to scramble to find tasks within the political structure of the Festival, as there are already individuals in charge of every aspect of the NWREF. A better option might be to leave a portion of the Festival entirely to the interns. This would allow the interns greater creativity and freedom to affect and contribute to the Festival. It would also allow future interns to concentrate on one goal rather than many smaller tasks.