By Mike Sherr
Student Government (SG) met on Feb. 24 to vote on a proposal made by student delegate and senior philosophy major David McMillan. The proposal called for the creation of a Center for Public Service and a $5 student fee to finance the operations.
The Center for Public Service would be an internship and career-oriented organization providing information on how to find opportunities in government. It would also hold non-partisan events and discussions around campus to create a more educated community. The center would be open to all majors and would help anyone who is interested in finding a job in the public sector make connections.
“Students are not likely to pursue these opportunities because they’re typically unpaid and hard to find…in my opinion, the career center is not doing an adequate job to create better opportunities,” McMillan told SG.
During the Feb. 17 meeting when he brought the proposal forward, McMillan mentioned that other institutions like Rutgers University and Princeton University have a large amount of resources for students to pursue government internships and careers.
When looking under the resources section of the College’s Career Center website, it isn’t hard to understand why students like McMillan would want to establish a specific organization for public service internships. Under political science and international studies majors where students are most likely to search for public sector opportunities, there is not a single link to internship and career options for students.
As McMillan stated in the proposal, the Center would create “opportunities for [students] to engage with professional and academic opportunities outside the classroom that furthers their interest in public service.”
Dr. Daniel Bowen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, told The Signal he was “very excited about this student-led initiative and the support it has received from Student Government.”
“I think it shows deep interest in both public service and furthering the campus’ connection to government and the Trenton policy community,” he said.
Although the Center’s resources would most likely be used by students in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, it would not be focused solely on opportunities in politically-oriented fields. The organization would also provide resources for students in any major who would be interested in working in government or for non-profits.
Bowen believes that the organization could “connect interested faculty and students currently siloed in various departments and schools.”
SG voted to pass the bill, but the center is not necessarily guaranteed to be created. Many key parts of the proposal like funding, scope and leadership structure still need to be ironed out. The proposal and its approval from SG will be sent to President Kathryn Foster, Provost Jeffrey Osborn and Dr. Jane Wong, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Dr. Wong told The Signal that she is looking “forward to working with other stakeholders on campus to explore the concept further and to making sure it flourishes, if the College should choose to create the Center or a similar structure.”