Erin Horning joined us for six weeks as the Sigma Tau Delta intern in our book acquisitions department. She wrote this post for us to share her thoughts on her time spent with BWB.
I can’t believe it’s over. It seems like yesterday I was soaking up the Georgia sun after my first day as the Sigma Tau Delta intern for Better World Books. Now, six weeks later, I am packing up my memories and preparing to drive back to Williamsport, Pennsylvania where I’ll spend a few weeks relaxing before my last semester at Penn State Altoona. My first three weeks at Better World Books were a fantastic blur that you can read about here, on Sigma Tau Delta’s official blog.
The second half of my internship has gone by even faster than the first half. I worked on a survey for campus book drivers for the first two weeks of my internship and by week four, the results were ready to be analyzed. It was so satisfying to be able to see what valuable information came from a project in which I was deeply invested. My fourth week at Better World Books started off with a day-long strategic planning session. This meeting was one of the biggest learning opportunities I was given at Better World Books. The discussions that took place changed the scope of the rest of my internship and it was fascinating to see how quick to act everyone is at BWB. They waste no time when given the challenge of implementing careful, intelligent changes. Since that meeting, my time at Better World Books has been spent working on a book drive guide and a new job description, editing e-mail templates, contacting past and present book drivers, and writing a letter to the lucky person who gets to be the next intern. With every question I’ve posed (there have been many), I’ve gained a better understanding of what BWB does for literacy and the environment. With every project I’ve been assigned, I learned about the unique relationships Better World Books has with its partners. And with every conversation I’ve had with a BWB employee, I received valuable personal and professional insight.
Some of my favorite memories from the office include calling other Sigma Tau Deltans to discuss their book drives, attending a presentation about Invisible Children, and a trip to the Books for Africa warehouse in Smyrna, Georgia. My chapter chose Books for Africa as our non-profit literacy partner last year! I can’t express how rewarding it was to get a chance to see where those funds have gone. When another BWB intern and I arrived at the warehouse, our tour guide welcomed us and let us know that many of the books that were in the warehouse that day came from BWB! We, among many other excited volunteers, sorted one book at a time into piles of books that will soon be shipped to Africa. Needless to say, seeing this other side of the literacy movement put a lot of things in perspective for me as my internship came to a close.
My time outside of work has been full of exploration. Each weekend I found myself in a new part of Georgia that has left me good memories of southern hospitality, Peachtree Street, and the Braves. I’ll never forget how fun it was to go tubing down the Chattahoochee River, climb Stone Mountain, and go horseback riding in Helen.
This internship blew my expectations out of the water. I hoped to gain some useful job experience in an ordinary office environment. Thankfully, Better World Books is no “ordinary office environment.” The people who work here are passionate about the company and it’s definitely contagious! Even though I was only here for a lightning-quick six weeks, they’ve made me feel like I, too, was an active contributor to BWB’s success. The brainpower that lights up the meetings I’ve been lucky enough to attend has made me excited to be the same kind of employee someday–one ripe with enthusiasm for the mission of my employer. I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again. Thanks, BWB!