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How One Day for DU Makes a Difference

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Crowdfunding project helps students take advantage of internship opportunities

One Day for DU

The impact of One Day for DU goes well beyond the numbers. The 24-hour crowdfunding initiative — taking place today — is an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni, parents and other supporters of DU to make contributions to various projects.

Every contribution — whether it goes toward funding a scholarship or program, or giving a student the opportunity to pursue an unpaid internship he or she otherwise could not afford — makes a significant impact. Such is the case with the Department of Career and Professional Development’s Internship Award program, which is one of the 28 crowdfunding options for today’s campaign.

Rebecca Damas, assistant director of career and professional development in the University Career Center, says the internship program awards students $2,500 each to help offset the cost of doing an unpaid internship. Last year, 56 donors contributed $3,614 to the Career Center’s One Day for DU crowdfunding project. The extra money allowed the center, which typically awards eight internships each summer, to add a ninth. DU student Darby Pappas (BA ’18), the ninth recipient of the internship award, worked as a marketing intern with Lost Girls Tribe, a retail clothing company promoting women in sports.

Each year, the center receives 20 to 30 applications for the program. Demand for financial assistance for the internship program is growing, Damas says; this year the center received 50 applications. The requests include internships with nonprofits, law enforcement agencies, communications firms, interfaith organizations and the federal government. The opportunities span the globe, including destinations like China, London, Tanzania, Ghana, Austria and the U.S.

“In many fields,” Damas says, “these internships and experiential learning opportunities may come as unpaid experiences, limiting the accessibility to students who can’t afford to work without making money for a summer.”

Internships provide students with the critical professional experience most employers look for. In fact, Damas says, 50 percent of employers expect students to complete more than one internship. Providing students with an opportunity to gain experience in their field of study can increase their chances of finding a good job — one that pays $6,000–$10,000 more compared to a student who did not complete an internship. One Day for DU helps students gain that internship experience.

“For students unable to make this financial sacrifice, it can mean a huge missed opportunity to gain experience in their field, thus setting them behind peers when it comes to competitiveness for full time employment at graduation,” Damas says. “If we can fund even just one additional student, that’s making a huge difference in one student’s life.”