We strongly encourage students to plan for an internship to accompany their studies in religion. Completing an internship will provide important experiential focus to your studies, will make you more attractive to a wide variety of graduate school opportunities, and will also enhance your skills for the job market. On campus, the Career Development Center is a good place to start. Make an appointment to meet with one of their advisors for help perusing the resources they have to offer. Also check out the Religion Dept. bulletin board on the second floor of Comenius, since we frequently post opportunities that have come to our attention. Some other websites you may wish to explore include the following:
- Idealist.org (A global clearinghouse of nonprofit and volunteering resources)
- Organizations that Promote Sustainable Communities in the Lehigh Valley
- Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley
- Local religious congregations
- LEPOCO (a local peace and justice committee that works on issues of war and peace)
- Latino Leadership Alliance of the Lehigh Valley
- Interfaith Philadelphia
- Shanthi Project (They offer mindfulness, yoga, and trauma-informed training to schools, camps, and juvenile justice centers.)
Additional Internship Ideas
+ Sustainability & Public Health [existing Alliance internship] – Many of the practices that are environmentally unsustainable are also create serious health issues, and one of the primary mandates in the field of public health is prevention. These internships focus on working with community efforts to raise awareness and lead to improvements in health. They currently focus on two critical areas:  Improving air quality in the LV, which has been out of compliance with health standards for many years -- it is no coincidence that asthma rates in the LV are among the highest of all metropolitan areas in the country;  Raising awareness of the huge potential damage to public health if all drilling for natural gas does not follow the precautionary principle -- if groundwater supplies are contaminated, it will affect the health of tens of millions of people in PA & neighboring states. [Food is a major public health issue also, but that is listed below under Food & Health.] Interns generally work on a combination of activities with the Alliance, Clean Water Action, St. Luke's Community Health, & Lehigh University Environmental Policy Design grad program.
+ Food & Health [existing Alliance internship] – There are some serious moral questions about the industrial system of food production. Do lower food prices and high profits for agribusiness justify destruction of the natural world and ecosystems? ...making and serving foods that undermine our health instead of supporting health? Interns will learn about the food system and assist with activities to promote sustainably-grown food that supports health.
+ Community & Restorative Justice [existing Alliance internship] – The criminal justice system focuses on determining blame and administering punishment. Unfortunately it has been proven time and time again to discriminate against minorities and low-income offenders, and most prisons and jails are rife with mistreatment and assault, including sexual assault, by corrections officers. There is almost no real attempt to help inmates become constructive members of society, and little if any effort to heal these offenders. With recidivism rates that average 65%–70%, it is arguably a total failure. Is it right to spend enormous sums on prisons that brutalize offenders but do little if anything to reduce crime? Community-centered restorative justice systems often have recidivism rates of less than 10% and do much more to heal the victims, the community, and the offender. At this point, this internship tends to involve a mix of research and meetings with community leaders to promote interest in a restorative or unitive justice system.
+ Immigration & Society [proposed new Alliance internship] – Immigration is often discussed in a political or legalistic framework, but the way we treat others is always a moral question. In the case of immigrants, we need to ask whether it is acceptable to treat some people as inferior or undesirable because of their immigration status or national origin. The problem is compounded by erroneous claims that immigrants commit more crime, when actually the crime rates for immigrants are often lower than average -- especially for undocumented immigrants. Interns will assist with immigrants' rights work & community programs that serve the immigrant community, examine legal issues, and research immigration issues and visions from other communities. [Will work closely with the Immigrants' Rights Project, the Alliance, the Collective Memory Project of the Lehigh Valley, and/or various community organizations.]
+ Fair Trade / Fair Treatment of Workers [proposed new Alliance internship] – We are indoctrinated to think that market-driven trade is fair, although it often involves unfair treatment of workers. Is it right to save a few pennies at the expense of other people [whether they are located down the street or on the other side of the world]?
+ Countering Militarism [Based on a previous Alliance internship in cooperation with LEPOCO and/or VFP] – There has been a huge increase in militarism in the U.S. over the past few decades, and the assumption or belief that military force is the way to solve problems is generally not even questioned, nor is the fundamental issue of whether it is acceptable to kill people for political or economic goals. In the past, this internship has consisted primarily of going into local schools to raise students' awareness of militarism, nonviolence, and alternatives to the military; it has usually involved only about 6 hrs/wk -- not a full internship. Sometimes it has focused more on showing up at the schools than on really engaging the students. If students are interested in this, we would have to work with LEPOCO and/or VFP to create a more comprehensive internship including nonviolence training and organizing a Youth Peacemaker Training event for high school students.
+ Homelessness & Poverty [an idea for a potential but as of yet unestablished internship] this could be beneficial for students double-majoring in religion and -- economics, philosophy, political science, sociology, or other courses dealing with aspects of contemporary life in US.
Links to Volunteer Corps