Humanistic Studies

UW-Green Bay

Tag: untitledtown. humanities

How do the Humanities Connect to a Non-Profit Organization: My Internship with the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin

By Dana La Verne

The humanities explore the human experience, and one way to do this is interning with a non-profit organization. This semester I have been completing my humanities degree by interning with Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin (CWAC). CWAC is a non-profit dedicated to promoting a safe, healthy, and sustainable environment for the region. Throughout this internship I have gained a positive experience in helping humans and the environment stay healthy.

Clean Water Action Council 2019 Farmers Market Booth

I have had many opportunities through this internship. I was able to talk to the local Green Bay community about CWAC at the Winter Farmers Market. The community is what allows us to be able to continue doing our work. I was also able to attend the Making the Connection Conference in Madison, WI which discussed environmental health in our society. I was able to listen to doctors and every day individuals discuss the work they do in society to help us live the healthiest lives possible.

Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin Spring 2019 Newsletter

With this internship I also learned about managing a non-profit organization. I am the manager of the weekly update. This is an update we email to our members and email list with events, actions, new legal permits, and important environmental news that is happening in Northeast Wisconsin and around the world. I am also in charge of social media. I post everything from the weekly update, and anything that I find useful that the public should know about. CWAC also has a quarterly newsletter that we publish. For the Spring 2019 Newsletter I published an article called “Electric Vehicles Making a Positive Impact Toward Global Warming”, which discussed that electric vehicles will be a healthy form of transportation for humans and for the environment.

The Clean Water Action Council also hosts many events such as health forums to help keep the public informed. This includes keeping up with research, and what the public is interested in learning. The health forum I helped promote was “The Environment and Health: Why what we eat, touch, and breathe matters.” One major project we are working on with a sister non-profit, Clean Wisconsin, is discussing the dangers of Coal Tar Sealants. In the tar sealants are Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs. They are found in parking lots and driveways which pose a threat to anyone, but especially the sick, elderly, and our children who play on these surfaces. We have hosted three presentations in Brown, Oconto and Marinette Counties, sent emails and letters to schools, hospitals, and public officials in the counties, cities, villages, and towns, and advertised throughout the communities. Legislation has been passed in neighboring areas to help raise awareness, which we now want to do in Northeast Wisconsin.

“Interning for a non-profit organization allows you the ability to experience humanities from a different perspective.”

Dana La Verne

Another important aspect with working with a non-profit organization is learning how to fundraise, either through the organization or through grants. For instance, we received a grant for the Coal Tar Sealants. We sell merchandise such as bags, t-shirts, and sweatshirts, but our biggest fundraiser is our annual banquet. I had to contact local businesses for donations to our silent auction, advertise the event, sell tickets, and help with the planning process. Our banquet included a social, silent auction, dinner, program, and dance. This year the meal was slow roasted free-range chicken which was gluten-free or mushroom Marinara, which was vegan and also gluten-free. You also got a mixed green salad, roasted sweet potatoes, vegetables, and a dessert bar. Our food was locally sourced. If you didn’t find something you liked to eat, there was no hope. The program included speaker Paul Matheson from Clean Wisconsin discussing protecting our families from toxic pavement sealants, and the band was Terry Murphy and the Cherry Pickers. It was a fun time promoting CWAC and the work that we do, but it was also a lot of work. The greatest thing I enjoyed was seeing everything come together.

Speaker Paul Matheson discussing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs, in tar pavement sealants, and the harm it causes to the public health.
Photo Credit: Intern Lauren Felder
My boyfriend Devin and I all dressed up at the Clean Water Action Council Banquet. My family are my greatest supporters.
Photo Credit: Kayla Carolyn Photography

Interning for Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin gave me a well-rounded experience. I learned how to manage a non-profit through the wonderful guidance of President and Director Dean Hoegger, I organized events, managed the weekly newsletter and social media, wrote a published article, and I went out of my comfort zone with fundraising by calling businesses. I also gained important relationships with the other interns, Lauren Felder and Jace Hannemann, and interim manager Caitlin Cravillion. We helped each other when needed, supported each other on difficult days, and became wonderful friends. This internship helped me gain professional experience that I can use in my future careers and endeavors, and it helped me build long lasting relationships.

I hope this blog post makes you realize that humanities can be more than interning at museums or historical societies. It is also about learning about humanity today. I gained that experience by interning at CWAC. You can gain that experience by working at any non-profit you could imagine. It doesn’t even have to be a non-profit. You take out what you want from your participation in an internship.

“This internship and everything I learned along the way will stick with me for the rest of my life. “

Dana La Verne

I would like to end by saying thank you to the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, the humanities department, and especially Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin for giving me this opportunity and professional experience. I hope to take everything I learned and the portfolio I built throughout the semester to continue impacting humanity and society in a positive way.

The Humanities in 2018

If one were to ask us students, “What are the Humanities?” More often than not, we wouldn’t be able to answer that. That was my experience talking to fifth graders and representing the History Club and the Ancient and Medieval Humanities Club at the mini OrgSmorg hosted by Phuture Phoenix last Fall 2017. The definition of “humanities” covers a variety of subjects including languages, history, philosophy, literature, and more. Merriam-Webster defines it as, “the branches of learning (such as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics).”

UWGB states it as such, “The humanities comprise those fields that study human creations of all sorts.” I think this definition is more accurate and representative of the study of the humanities. What is the study of literature, for example, without history or language and vice versa? The humanities as a field of study is truly a beautiful thing in that it spans across almost all fields and has real world, modern applications.

Student Michael Dahlberg presented his research on the origins of UWGB's Eco-friendly reputation with Professor David Voelker at the Academic Excellence Symposium in April 2017.

Student Michael Dahlberg presented his research on the origins of UWGB’s Eco-friendly reputation with Professor David Voelker at the Academic Excellence Symposium in April 2017.

One can see that evidenced at UWGB. The Ancient and Medieval Humanities Club teamed up with the History Club and Engineering Club to build and launch a catapult. The English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, hosts biweekly book discussions on fascinating titles such as Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Professor Stefan Hall hosts mead and beer brewing events. You can watch foreign films or brush up your French, German or Spanish with fellow students and professors. You can listen and contribute to discussions on a wide range of topics alongside community members downtown. Or watch your professors get into heated philosophical debates from the Reformation while personifying Luther and Erasmus. If exploring ways to apply your study of humanities to career fields is your interest, you can do an internship and find yourself doing any number of things, from teaching English to people from all over the world, to shadowing a lawyer in court, to learning how to introduce school kids to snakes at the Neville Public Museum’s reptile exhibit. You can even spend the summer venturing abroad to explore World War I trenches in France, Germany, and Belgium. There are so many opportunities to get involved with the Humanities program and the programs it relates to!

The first annual Untitledtown Book and Author Festival began with the Sheepshead Review launch party.

The first annual Untitledtown Book and Author Festival began with the Sheepshead Review launch party.

When I began my academic career here in Fall 2014, the History Club was starting up again. I worked in the Archives and Area Research Center which at the time was beginning to digitize their collections. Now there’s a Viking House on campus! The English department started UntitledTown, an annual book and author festival! Even the programs name changed from “Humanistic Studies” to “Humanities,” since this program and its disciplinary programs are all fields within the Humanities as well as this title being more widely recognizable.  To sum, the Humanities are blossoming at UWGB, pulling in more curious students and preparing them for a future of excitement, creativity, and wonder!

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