Yoshi's Jazz Club in San Francisco is part of the Fillmore district's ongoing redevelopment, a project USF students worked on as paid PSIP interns in 2010.
One helped manage a commercial kitchen overhaul; one
researched city finances so that elected officials could forecast future
budgets in the wake of the Great Recession; two more surveyed Fillmore district
business owners and met with community residents about what San Francisco could
do to improve the area.
Who were they? Interns in the University of San Francisco’s
paid Public Service Internship Program (PSIP).
While much of Madelene Parks’ semester-long internship
involved sourcing sinks, refrigerator units, and researching code compliance to
build out a commercial kitchen for the St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church incubator
kitchen program, Parks, a hospitality management major, soon found herself
applying her hospitality law coursework to the project as well.
“After learning about the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), I immediately understood the need to remove readily achievable barriers
throughout the church even though we (were) renovating just the kitchen,” said
Parks in a description of her internship on the PSIP blog [http://psipatusf.wordpress.com].
Parks and other PSIP students’ description of the challenges
they faced during their internships and the strategies they used to overcome
them, reveal how university coursework and real life can come to loggerheads.
“While I was
excited to apply some of my organizational, computer, and business social
skills to help the community, I quickly became concerned with the label I was
given of ‘outside consultant’ when we gathered with some of the community
members for the first time,” said business graduate Robert
Moaveni ’10. “I then realized that
I was an
outsider, and in order to help come up with a development fund allocation
decision I would have to integrate into the community at a deeper level than a
‘consultant,’” said Moaveni, of his experience interviewing
business owners and community residents about the district’s most pressing
development needs as part of the Fillmore Redevelopment Project, managed by the
San Francisco Office of Workforce Development.
Not surprisingly, that is exactly the type of experience the
program was intended to foster. “A PSIP internship provides real world applied
experience that students can note on their résumé and leverage by using their
completed project portfolio and acquired networks for future employment,” said
Monika Hudson, assistant professor and director of the Gellert Family Business
Resource Center/PSIP at USF’s School of Business and Professional Studies.
Besides paying students between $2,000 and $3,000 a
semester, PSIP helps them understand the responsibilities that come with
obtaining a business degree. In particular, the internships open a window on
what’s required to meet the so called triple bottom line – financial solvency,
social responsibility, and environmental sustainability – as part of the
broader array of metrics that business professionals answer for today, Hudson