UPDATED: How to Recruit SSU Students as Interns & for CIP

August 6, 2012
Merith Weisman

In another blog post, we discuss the differences between internships and the Community Involvement Program (CIP). This post is about how community organizations can recruit Sonoma State University (SSU) students to serve in these capacities.

If your community organization is interested in recruiting an intern or CIP student, more is better. Here are some ideas:

1) Send the CCE your position descriptions at cce@sonoma.edu. We will forward them on to appropriate faculty who can distribute them to their students. Please remember to include your mission statement and contact information, approximate number of hours per week (45 total hours per semester = 1 internship unit for the student, 90 hours = 2 units, etc.) your expectations of the student, a title (what the student will be doing, not "Intern") and a benefits section. This section can say "Although this position is unpaid, you will learn/meet/etc. x,y,z...this will save you a lot of time fielding student questions about pay.

2) Send your position descriptions to faculty you know at SSU, regardless of department. You can request that they send it along to their colleagues as well.

3) Post your internships to on the Career Services Seawolf Jobs site. Posting is free and students log on directly to the site to search for internships. It also provides a good outline for a position description.

4) Register for the Service & Internship Fair XIV, on Wednesday, August 28th, from 11:00am-1:00pm in Salazar Plaza in the Fall. Community Partner Thursdays are also a great way to recruit students. Find out how to participate so you can improve your reach and increase student engagement. Also, check out some tips and tricks for successful tabling.

5) Do you have SSU interns now? Ask them to help you with your recruitment. Perhaps they have a friend who would be a great match. You can even consider adding "replace yourself" to the position description.

6) If you haven't done so already, post positions to your website, post the link on Facebook, etc. Ask current and past students to link to it and share it, etc.

7) Book a table on campus on a Thursday. Click for more info and details.

8) Have other ideas to share? Post them here in the comments section of the blog!

Don't forget to make an informed decision about whether to pay or not. You can use this fact sheet from the US Department of Labor to assist you. Note the exception at the bottom of the page.

Also, please note that SSU does not have a central internship department and internships are handled at the academic department level. This means that your experience with internships can vary widely when working with different departments. For example, Dr. Duane Dove in the SSU School of Business and Economics (SBE) shares, "The SBE does not sponsor unpaid internships because they will not place their students in a placement where they are not expected to add value to the organization. This includes for profit and non-profit organizations. This policy was implemented in May of 2011. Prior to the policy 80% to 90% of their internships were paid. One reason for the new policy was a frequent complaint by both volunteers and sponsors when an internship was unpaid. Interns complained that their time was wasted by not having work organized for them when they appeared for work. Employers complained that interns were cavalier about showing up for work. In sum, the SBE found that unpaid internships frequently established an uncommitted relationship, which was unsatisfactory for both the student and the 'employer.'"

Dr. Lorna Catford from the Department of Psychology says, "Agencies give of their time and expertise to train student interns, and in return they get some useful work from them. The philanthropy of fostering the development of an apprentice to enter the field is another reward for the agency; network and potential job connections are another student reward. Life should NOT revolve around money. Humanity is the bottom line. In the field of Psychology, non-profits have missions to serve humanity. They do not have great coppers of funding, so rely on the work, compassion, generosity and time of volunteers to help deliver much of their services. Student interns join this philanthropic work force and have the extra reward of training and preparation for professional work in the field. This is a time-honored tradition, the process of the apprentice. As mentioned above, it benefits the agency, the intern, and the population receiving services."

Differing policies and procedures can make your recruitment efforts more challenging, but the CCE is here to help. Don't forget tip #1 above; send us your position descriptions. We will send them to the appropriate academic department(s)!