New Orleans will host the newest Bulldogs Across American summer internship program this summer, Undergraduate Career Services announced Thursday.
The “Bulldogs in the Big Easy” program will offer between 15 and 20 non-profit positions for Yalies interested in helping rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina, UCS Director Philip Jones said. With the addition of New Orleans, there are now seven Bulldogs Across America programs jointly coordinated by UCS and area alumni.
The New Orleans program was established with the help of Category 3: Learn, Change, ReNew Orleans, a social-action group on campus dedicated to raising awareness of and organizing support for the city, Jones said.
“It’s great that students can really be focused on an issue like this in a place that needs all the help it can get,” he said.
The New Orleans program — which now has listings for positions for students to help develop charter schools and intern at the public defender’s office and urban-revitalization firms, among others — is accepting applications on a rolling basis.
Although other Bulldogs Across America positions pay interns a minimum of $3,000 over the 10-week period, most of the New Orleans internships will be unpaid.
Area alumni, in conjunction with Yale, will cover the interns’ housing expenses at Tulane University, but the students will be expected to pay for their own transportation, food and other costs, which will probably total around $1,500 per student, Jones said.
“The city is on its knees, and it would be unreasonable to expect these [non-profit] organizations to pay our students when their needs are so great,” Jones said in an e-mail.
Kezia Kamenetz ’09, president of Category 3 and one of the organizers of the New Orleans Bulldogs program, said she has been contacting the non-profits over the past couple months to set up internships to help address the city’s dire need for infrastructure improvements. The criminal-justice, education and public-health systems in the city are faltering, she said, and there are many environmental and safety issues that need to be addressed, such as drinking water quality and soil contamination.
While Kamenetz said she appreciates the monetary contribution from UCS to support housing expenses, she said she hopes Yale will “step up” and contribute as much money as many other major universities that have sponsored internship programs in New Orleans.
Along with Houston, Texas, which will also host a Bulldogs program for the first time this year, the other Bulldogs cities are San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Louisville and Cleveland.
This year marks the first time that the University will offer financial support to the Bulldogs Across America programs, which were previously entirely alumni-funded.
In the past, Jones said, the clubs have spent roughly $60,000 to $70,000 each summer to cover student housing and to underwrite salaries for students working at non-profit organizations, which often cannot afford to pay interns $3,000.
The details will not be certain until Yale officials sign contracts and finalize the budget next week, but the University’s total contribution to the programs will be over $200,000, Jones said.