By Anna Markulis, VRG Intern
I had a positive, educational, and meaningful internship experience with The Vegetarian Resource Group Spring semester 2023. As a senior at Loyola University Maryland majoring in Communications and minoring in Environmental Studies, I was tasked with finding an internship combining these two fields in the Baltimore area. The Vegetarian Resource Group did just that, and I am so grateful for this opportunity and work experience. Not only did I get to experience the kind of writing and communication work I’d expect in a job setting, I had the opportunity to connect with some amazing people from around the world, and feel as though I made some sort of positive impact on nature, animals, and the environment by helping such a great organization.
When I began my internship in January, Charles gave me an outline of the entire internship, got me in contact with everyone I would be working with, and allowed me to select my own due dates for each project. I was so used to following a curriculum with due dates established by a teacher, so this was a great learning experience for organizational and planning skills. In the beginning of the semester, Charles sent me so many interesting articles and readings on vegetarianism’s positive impact on the environment, and was eager to learn more about why I’m interested in vegetarianism and sustainability.
The first project I was tasked with was reviewing a local vegan restaurant of my choice. My little sister and I made a fun trip out of it, and visited the lunch restaurant at MOM’s Organic Market. We tried the vegan veggie sandwich, which ended up being one of the best sandwiches my sister and I had ever eaten! I reviewed the sandwich, took photos, and my blog review post was published on VRG’s Facebook page. In addition to reviewing restaurants and assisting Debra with the vegan restaurant guide, Rissa sent me some vegan snacks in the mail for me to review for “Veggie Bit” posts, which were both so delicious.
When I first got in touch with Charles, he asked me for five short term goals. One goal I mentioned was to finally try out a recipe from Linda McCartney’s vegan cookbook, and I ended up being able to cook and review a vegan gingerbread recipe for a project. I had so much fun with this task, and I even learned a bit about copyright rules while writing my review.
I was also given the chance to read and respond to high school seniors’ scholarship essays, which gave me such a deeper look into why young people today are deciding to eat a plant-based diet. It was so interesting to get a glance into some of the amazing vegetarian/vegan activism young people are capable of within their communities. I noticed a trend among the essays – most students are going vegan/vegetarian for the environment! Charles let me read scholarship essays from 20 years ago to compare students’ motives and write a blog post about it. I also was able to showcase my love for graphic design and created a poster to promote the VRG’s scholarship essay contest which I loved creating.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Simon Brown, a Philosophy professor at Johns Hopkins, to discuss animal consciousness, and how our misconceptions have alerted the way we view ourselves, animals, and nature which I found so compelling. I wrote a piece on our discussion, and related it to vegetarianism and environmentalism. Charles also gave me the opportunity to speak with a German exchange student, and we compared the attitudes towards the environment of young people in Germany and America. Lea was so kind and intelligent, and I’m so glad I could connect and speak with her about this topic.
One of my favorite experiences of the internship was being able to participate in Loyola’s Earth Day event on the quad. Charles helped me run a VRG table with Vegan Journal magazines, flyers, and buttons, and it was such a great way to celebrate Earth Day and promote vegetarianism/veganism.
Overall, I am so grateful for my internship experience at The Vegetarian Resource Group. Even though I am graduating Loyola in May, I will gladly volunteer and stay in contact with The Vegetarian Resource Group. I would recommend this internship to any student, as this has been such a positive and valuable experience that I feel proud of being a part of.
For information about VRG internships, see https://www.vrg.org/student/index.php
To support VRG internships, scholarships, and youth outreach, donate at https://www.vrg.org/donate