UNH Summer High Impact Learning Program a Win-Win for Students and Community Organizations; Changemakers Share Experiences at Social Innovation Internship Showcase July 24

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

UNH Media Relations logo

DURHAM, N.H.—Twenty-five UNH students will share what they achieved this summer while interning at a range of local nonprofit and for profit innovative organizations focused on creating positive social and/or environmental impact at the annual Social Innovation Internship Showcase at the University of New Hampshire Wednesday, July 24, 2019. The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. Presentations will run from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by a networking reception.

The summer internship is a signature program of UNH's Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise (CSIE), whose mission is to provide UNH students who are hungry to use their education and their future career to contribute to addressing some of society’s most urgent sustainability challenges, with meaningful high-impact learning experiences to help build their knowledge and skills as changemakers. The program is built on the principle of mutual gain. Students have the opportunity to build their hands-on experience, and their professional skills and networks through experiences aligned with their values and interests in creating a more just and sustainable economy. Local businesses and non-profits receive qualified, motivated and UNH faculty supported students for capacity building in their organizations. Regional non-profits and mission-driven businesses interested in hosting an intern in future years are encouraged to attend.

In response to both student demand for real-world experiences and a growing number of organizations focused on investing in and creating a future employee talent pipeline, CSIE added a second cohort last summer, doubling the size of the program. Last year's high-energy showcase attracted people from business, government, nonprofits, and higher education.

“I had the opportunity to intern at two world-class sustainability-oriented companies, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE) and Stonyfield Organic, and those experiences hands-down led me to earning a job straight out of college at CCNNE,” said Keegan Smith, ’17, who recently accepted a full-time position as a recycling finance specialist at Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages.

Building a pipeline of talented young professionals who understand how to align business approaches with mission is also inspiring to business leaders like Ashley Davis, senior manager of global corporate responsibility at Cole Haan. “Your students are all amazing individuals - they were so thoughtful and inspiring. If future leadership and stewardship of the world is in their hands, and others like them, that gives me hope and confidence.”

Rachel Vaz, ’18, who interned with Cole Haan in 2018, recently accepted a full-time role with the company, “I'm really excited to be taking on this position because it allows me to be involved in creating systemic change, so that we're no longer simply putting band aids on issues, but creating systems which incentivize and enable continuous improvement and preventive actions so that there can truly be positive change in the lives of workers in our supply chain.”

Students work at different host organizations based on their skills and interests and spend the majority of the summer at their respective host organizations working on strategic social or environmental projects and report to a dedicated mentor. Interns also regularly come together as a cohort for trainings in social innovation, human-centered design and to hear from returning alumni about their experiences in the workforce. Students also participate in site-visits to learn about other mission-driven organizations in the region, like NH Community Loan Fund/ROC NH and CCNNE and local B Corps, such as MegaFood and ReVision Energy.

This summer, CSIE partnered with seven new host organizations, including Concert Corps, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hannaford Supermarket/Ahold Delhaize, Lakes Region Community Developers, Lonza, TURBOCAM, and Volunteer NH and was also honored to work with returning hosts, BerryDunn, Casella Waste Systems, Freedom Café, Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, Koya Leadership Partners, NH Community Loan Fund/ROC NH, Prime Buchholz, LLC, ReVision Energy and Timberland.

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.