Resource

Public Interest Internship

Last updated: 9/3/2019

When consumers are cheated or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, OSPIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation. OSPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government.

Campaigns include:

Right to Repair: Companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. Some companies design products to be impossible to repair -- such as gluing the battery in a smartphone so it cannot be replaced -- or making repair proprietary so that only the manufacturing company can do the repairs. Most companies won’t make the tools, schematics or replacement parts available for sale, so even if repairs can be done by the user or an independent repair business, it’s more challenging and done with suboptimal products. Right to Repair laws require manufacturing companies to make the diagnostic tools, schematics, replacement parts and tools available to the user or a third party available at a fair price.

Make Health Care Work for Oregon: Health care costs too much in this country, not because too many people have access to it, but because the system is simply too expensive. From $1,000 toothbrushes to giant price hikes for decades-old medicines like insulin, unjustifiably high costs are everywhere in the U.S. health care system. And these excessive costs can largely be attributed to widespread waste that doesn’t actually improve quality of care — waste that is estimated to represent a third or more of every dollar we spend on health care. Fortunately, many of the best ways to improve the quality of our health care would also help contain costs.

Get Big Money out of Politics: One person, one vote: That’s how we’re taught our elections are supposed to work. Candidates should compete to win our votes by revealing their vision, credentials and capabilities. We, the people then get to decide who should represent us. Except these days there's another election: Call it the money election. And in the money election, most people don’t have any say at all. Instead, a few super-wealthy individuals and corporations back the candidates they think will raise enough money to run the kind of high-priced campaign it takes to win. We’re working to empower small donors and lift up the voices of everyday people in local and state elections.

The Internship

Responsibilities:

The internship is designed to help train the next generation of public interest leaders by instilling the skills, ethics, and drive it takes to win campaigns.  We are looking for people who work hard, communicate effectively, and are dedicated to positive social change; responsibilities include grassroots organizing, media outreach and organizational building.  Interns will have the opportunity to develop and execute campaign strategies for winning critical parts of our state-wide efforts.  Specific responsibilities include:

 Grassroots Organizing:

  • Identifying and organizing businesses, local leaders, and citizens to promote consumer and public interest issues.
  • Media outreach: Assist in organizing a press event and writing letters to local papers
  • Running activist phone-banks, and using our network to pressure on local leaders directly

Organization Building: 

  • News Watch: Track media for stories and opinion pieces relevant to our campaign and organization
  • Donor Research: Identifying strong supporters and building the organization through grassroots outreach
  • Maintaining reports on local political climate, researching opportunities for OSPIRG to engage
  • Administrative: Help ensure the office and organization continue to run efficiently

Direct Advocacy:

  • Public hearings: Interns may have the opportunity to write public testimony, attend hearings, and testify
  • Lobby Meetings: During legislative session, most interns have the opportunity to attend lobby meetings 
  • Lobby Strategy: Vote tracking, scheduling lobby meetings, petition deliveries 

Expectations: 

Interns must work a minimum of 10 hours per week for at least 10 weeks on a regular schedule, as determined at the beginning of the term.  Interns must be on time and prepared.  They must be able to work independently as well as in groups.  This is an unpaid internship; it may be completed for college credit. Send resume & cover letter to cfisher@ospirg.org

Resource file download

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OSPIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.