I was talking with a current Williams parent yesterday. She came over to thank me for the alumni-sponsored internships. (I told her, of course, that they were a joint effort by a lot of classes.) Her son was awarded one for this summer, and that $400 a week is going to allow him to undertake a project that should make a big difference when he applies to graduate school in the fall. He’ll be working on the side in a paid (non-career track) weekend job but he couldn’t get in enough hours doing that alone to contribute his part of what the family needs to make the bottom line of that last year of Williams. The student has done very well at Williams and his family thinks that, with this internship project, he should stand in good stead of getting scholarship money for grad school. What his mother said made me very glad that my class had decided to give reunion class money to help endow the alumni-sponsored internship project several years ago.

As far as I can tell, there are very few paying summer jobs out there compared to prior years. What work is there often goes to laid-off older people or, in specialized fields, to graduate students rather than college students. On the internship front, you’d be wrong if you thought people were falling all over themselves to hire unpaid interns. With severe budget and/or staffing cutbacks, many non-profits don’t have the staff to supervise interns and devise helpful, meaningful projects for them to do, and there is a general understanding that even unpaid bodies raise operating costs (lights, copying, use of telephones, etc.).

Even where there still are good internships, families are finding it harder and harder to cover the costs of supporting the children over the summer plus paying all those extra bills even students on full financial aid must meet.

If you work for or are involved with a non-profit, is there some meaningful work, even part-time and unpaid, that you could make into an internship that could at least provide skills, helpful contacts, and a rewarding experience for an Eph? And could you take that student into your home, water your soup a bit, and feed her or him, in return for all the joy a college student can bring into a family? Could you provide some paid work around the house (child care, sports lessons, tutoring, painting, gardening, running errands, companionship for an elderly family member…) to help a student underwrite an unpaid internship or part-time paid work? And if you work in or run a for-profit business, is there some sort of meaningful work, even part-time, you could hire a college student to do?

It’s very late in the season for this summer, but, if you know of anything, please contact the Williams Office of Career Counseling, talk to current Williams families you know, or figure out how to have an announcement posted on WSO.

I can’t really help this summer, but we are planning things in the hope of being able to offer housing and some paid weekend work to one or two students working in marine biology or ecology two summers from now when we again have a spare bedroom. If you, too, can’t help this summer, maybe you can start planning something for next summer. And if you are involved in a regional alumni association, maybe you can figure out a way to collect up housing and job offers (including one-time “extra cash” jobs like tending bar for a party or moving some furniture) and get them out to current students.

Let’s double our efforts to help our younger brother and sister Ephs.

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