Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed: The Tales of a CFI Intern
June 6, 2011Trevor Boeckmann takes a step back to examine his internship with CFI.
It's 11:30 on a Sunday night as I write this, and here I am, slaving away in the Center for Inquiry office. This is far from unusual. Since making the 15 hour drive to Buffalo from Iowa four weeks ago, long hours here have become the norm. Beyond the normal 9-5 routine, I'm one of the last to leave most evenings and one of the first here in the mornings on Saturdays and Sundays. What's driving me to never leave the office? Does Debbie have me chained to my desk? Is the Buffalo weather that godawful? Is my internet access in the guesthouse too sketchy for regular use? Well, maybe a bit of all of that, but there's something more.
At the end of April, I was preparing to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa when I got a call from CFI's Campus Organizer Debbie Goddard offering me a summer internship in New York. I almost didn't accept the job. In my mind, I was all ready for summer. It was my last hurrah before leaving for UCLA's School of Law in the fall. I had a part-time job all lined up, and for the first time in a long time, I had the chance to bum around for months. Did I really want to, let alone could I afford to, give that up to move to Buffalo? Eventually Debbie and I struck up a deal. I would intern until the Student Leadership Conference, then head home for a month to see friends and make some money. I'm so glad I did.
From the first day here, I was in awe at what I was witnessing. We would have meetings to discuss what our campus outreach program was doing, what it should be doing, and what our future was. It wasn't until a couple of meetings in that I realized what I had gotten involved with. This was the atheist agenda. You know how you'll occasionally hear conservative talk show hosts discuss how atheists are plotting to take over the world? This was it! We were plotting it!
Eventually, we got down to work. I've only been here a little while, but I'm proud of what I've accomplished. We've revitalized the blog and, most importantly, prepared a sweet leadership conference (it's not to late to sign-up...). Now, none of this has been earth-shattering or ground breaking, so what am I doing working on a Sunday night? I love knowing that I'm doing my part – as minor and basic it may be – to give back to this movement. I love knowing that I'm around people who have had an earth-shattering impact on the movement. I love knowing that one extra phone call, one extra e-mail, or one extra Facebook creeping has the potential to change a life, a campus, or even the movement.
One of the coolest parts of being here has been feeling connected to groups across the country. As part of our re-affiliation drive, I was able to poke around Facebook groups and websites for groups across the world. Managing blog content has meant subscribing to the RSS feeds of every group blog. I've found myself joining Facebook groups and friending group leaders and – man – our affiliates are doing interesting things. I'm overwhelmed daily by the original content on group blogs. If you're a group leader and haven't colloborated with other groups, do it. You're missing out on some great ideas.
It's now 1:30 AM, as I knock out this blog post and a few distractions. 9:00 AM is going to come quick, but it's worth it. This internship has left me inspired. Working with a student group on a single campus, it's easy to forget how huge this movement is. There are so many amazing people doing amazing things, and I'm lucky to be a part of it – long hours be damned.
About the Author: Trevor Boeckmann
Trevor Boeckmann is an intern at the Center for Inquiry, and a recent graduate in economics from the University of Northern Iowa. Boeckmann served as President of the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers for two years, and this fall will be attending law school at UCLA.