Raam Tambe '21 interned at Swing Left during the 2020 summer term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.
This summer, I interned for the political outreach organization, Swing Left, as a part of their team “located” in Greater Boston. Swing Left is a non-profit dedicated to getting democrats into elected office positions in 11 key swing states. I worked as part of a smaller team focused on using arts to increase voter registration and advertise updates on vote-by-mail procedures. The major role I accomplished was to reach out to artists who could provide their services in designing art for digital and print media advertisements, as well as for yard sign creation. This strategy tried to leverage decentralized campaign tactics to advantage candidates with mass appeal among low resource communities; for candidates that lacked the financial means to provide free yard signs or run a social media advertisement campaign, our goal was to leverage passionate supporters to increase outreach through low cost means. Much of my previous internship experience in the search engine optimization domain enabled a significant portion of the work I completed for swing left. Techniques to increase the visibility of website or social media post came in as extremely handy when working through this role. I worked alongside a recent Dartmouth graduate, software engineers, retired doctors, and a professional artist on a team to help get out the vote through an art and media campaign.
The three most significant and notable positive aspects of this internship were the fact that I got to work alongside amazingly accomplished professionals across a number of domains, I got to see the inner workings of a political action organization and that I simply gained experience learning how to behave in a work environment. The opportunity to work alongside professionals exposed me to a number of unique career paths that I had previously never considered and showed me how one could balance volunteer work with a full time professional career. Even more importantly, I learned how grassroots organizing works, which I hope to be able to get involved with as I get older. Though I realized that perhaps as a career this may not fit my interest – mostly because of how many people I encountered when phone banking, mass-emailing, and mass-messaging that were disillusioned with the party system and felt that neither of the two major party’s truly represented their interests – I still found the experience enlightening and important to learn about as a citizen. As someone committed to the philosophy of a liberal arts education who believes the perhaps of learning is not to acquire a set of skills but to become a type of person, I found this experience made me a person who was more aware of how the organizations that define the fabric of our society work. Even then, I did receive valuable experience that taught me how to comport myself when working with a team. I had the unique opportunity to take a real leadership role with this internship, from which I feel that I learned a significant amount.
The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.