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Pacific Students Experience Politics and Government in Sacramento

Capital Connection – University of the Pacific

This spring, eight Pacific students will head to California’s capital every Tuesday and Thursday to immerse themselves in political affairs. The students have been selected for internships through the Sacramento Experience program offered by Pacific’s Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership.

In the Sacramento Experience program, students serve as interns in government, lobbying or non-profit organizations and attend a weekly Sacramento Public Affairs Seminar that focuses on California state politics and public policy. Many guest speakers who work in government or public policy institutions are invited to the Seminar to share their insights.

The internships run from January through April. Students serve for full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and transportation is provided to and from Pacific. They receive four units of credit for the internship and two units for the Seminar. While most of the internships are unpaid, some of them have led to paid internships during the summer—or even permanent full-time positions upon graduation.

Now in its eighth year, the Sacramento Experience program has placed 60 students in internships in the capital. Their responsibilities are diverse and include researching issues, attending hearings, writing reports on pending legislation, media relations and planning events. Students are expected to be full-fledged participants in the offices they work for, and that also includes performing routine tasks such as filing and photocopying.

One student had a key role in planning and setting up a special state-wide conference for the Governor’s office, and as a result, met Governor Schwarzenegger and other state officials. Another student provided staff support for first lady Maria Shriver. Other students have interned at places such as the League of California Cities, California School Boards Association, National Council of LaRaza, and for state legislators of both political parties.

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