Full-time internship coordinator a need

Emma Dejong

Emma Dejong

Internships make any résumé stand out, but for many SDSU students, they are also required. In an effort to provide help to these students, the Students’ Association wrote a resolution that asks for a full-time internship coordinator.

“Internships are essential,” Matt Tollefson, a senior agricultural education major and SA president, said. “We feel that we need to have a full-time person there that can help students get those internships.”

SA has been interested in starting this position for multiple years. Eric Haiar, a junior music merchandising and business economics major, put it into action as a part of his platform in running for next term’s president. Haiar is a second-year senator for the College of Arts and Sciences running against Tim Goldammer, a senior hospitality management major and second-year senator for the College of Family Consumer Science.

“I’d like us to start looking for the full-time position as soon as we can,” Haiar said. “The resolution is basically the first step.”

SDSU does have a current part-time internship coordinator, Cami Veire, who works under the College of General Studies. Her job includes working with students, as well as working with the 38 faculty internship coordinators in various departments.

“I work closely with them to make sure students in their departments are aware of internships not only in South Dakota, but everywhere,” Veire said. “Right now I spend the majority of my time meeting with students one-on-one.”

Veire was hired in the spring of 2008 and has had SA’s support “for as long as the position has been going,” Veire said.

“One person can’t always be talking with students and taking phone calls all the time,” Haiar said. “We just want to make things easier.”

Bob Otterson, executive assistant to the president, could not guarantee a full-time internship coordinator will be hired, but he did say it will be considered.

“The position similar to what’s described in the resolution certainly remains on the table,” Otterson said.

A time frame is yet to be determined for when officials will respond to the resolution. Currently, officials have been asked to review all vacant positions at the university, as “hiring may be delayed because of the state’s budget situation,” Otterson said.

“All open positions and all proposed positions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not they will be filled,” Otterson said.

The resolution also asked for “the installment of a staffed office.” However, as the position itself has not been officially confirmed, specific details have not been discussed.

“I figure it’s too early to determine anything like that right now,” Otterson said. “If the space needs at a place like Medary Commons are not suitable, then the university will need to locate space that will work better.”

A problem that both Veire and a potential internship coordinator face is the lack of promotion, and this ultimately hurts students, Veire said.

“Right now, people don’t know that I’m here,” Veire said. “Unfortunately what students end up doing is taking something they don’t want to do, and we don’t want that.”

Veire added that ideally students would “start thinking about internships by their second semester on campus.”

“It’s not that all students don’t know about it,” Veire said. “It’s that they find out about it toward the end of their academic journey.”

Veire said she is glad that students and faculty are considering ways to improve what SDSU can potentially offer.

“We appreciate the Student Association’s support and the president’s support because it shows that they recognize the value of internships,” Veire said.

Veire added that she ultimately wants students to find an internship that “is more than filing papers.”

“The number one goal for SDSU is to ensure that students are adequately prepared academically to go out into the world,” Veire said.