UMass Lowell students are branching out into the community more than ever. The Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership (MVHP) won second place for a YouTube Video award thanks to the hard work and commitment of their UMass Lowell intern Phillip Geoffroy. Geoffroy is a junior in the Political Science program and works for MVHP as a marketing, outreach and support associate.
The Trinity EMS YouTube Video award is hosted by the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce; this was the second year for this now annual award. Working with the MVHP, Geoffroy created a YouTube video highlighting the incredible work done by MVHP. The MVHP’s mission is to “promote responsible and sustainable home ownership opportunities for first time home buyers,” according to Jim Wilde, the executive director of MVHP.
The UMass Lowell Community Internship program in which Geoffroy works provides students with a paid opportunity to get real world experience while working in a community-based organization. Community internships are offered to sophomore, junior and senior students in the College of Fine arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences with a GPA of 2.75 or higher. This program is a cost share program, half funded by the University and the other half by the community partners. This semester, Fall 2013, was the launch of the program. Ten students were placed and worked 100 hours for $10 per hour. Students who receive community internships are provided with a world of opportunities in the greater Lowell area, and have real potential to affect the community for the better.
This video is getting a lot of buzz in the community and helping to build the visibility of MVHP. But why is a political science major working for a housing organization? What does that have to do with his major? Everything, as it turns out. By working with the MVHP, Geoffroy is aiding in making strides which will not only help the city of Lowell now, but improve the community long term. It is important for a political science major to understand and play a role in stable economic development and gain hands-on understanding that real sustainable change begins with the community, and spreads outwards. This developed understanding of microeconomics and the roles that nonprofit organizations play in our society is more difficult to be taught in a classroom, but thanks to the Community Internship Program Geoffroy has had the chance to learn this firsthand.
A community internship position depends on three key factors: funding from the University, commitment and funding from the nonprofit organization, and interest and energy of a student. Geoffroy worked hard and utilized his own skills to benefit the MVHP, while learning a great deal working for the organization. This is the goal of the Community Internship Program, to benefit the community while giving students real world experience. At UMass Lowell we know how much our students can do with real world experience.