Viewpoint: Consider D-SIP


Published December 6, 2012

Get with our program!

As a Michigan student, your summer possibilities are endless. You could intern at a hedge fund, a marketing firm, an engineering company or an arts organization. You could travel or end up living with your parents for four months and working in your hometown. Or you could intern for the University of Michigan’s award-winning Development Summer Internship Program, and in our opinion, that’s what you should do.

Why development, you may ask? Development is philanthropy. Look around you. If you’ve sat in the UGLi and sipped a delicious drink from Bert’s Café, then you’ve experienced philanthropy. If you’ve studied at the Rackham or Ross buildings, designed in a studio at Taubman or danced in the Power Center, you’ve experienced philanthropy. Have you been to a Michigan football game? Visited the art museum? Spun the cube? Then guess what, you’ve experienced philanthropy. Michigan thrives off the philanthropic gifts from donors, and D-SIP is an incredible opportunity for students to witness this process firsthand and learn critical skills for creating positive changes in the world.

Interns are placed in a development office on campus in locations ranging from the Business Engagement Center to the School of Nursing to Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Four interns are also placed in local non-profits to gain experience in development outside of the University. Each intern is assigned his or her own project to work on throughout the summer. These carefully designed projects cover a multitude of areas, from benchmarking to data analysis to developing social media strategies. In addition to being meaningful, these projects are impactful and highly valued by the community. One of our projects created strategies for getting grants of more than $25 million to support research. Another focused on engaging international alumni on five continents.

After working from Monday to Thursday, interns come together for Friday class. The morning part of class focuses on the role of philanthropy at the University and teaches about the different roles one could explore in the field of development. The best part of Friday mornings is guest speakers including University leaders and donors. Professional development is the focus of the afternoon class. We practiced networking, participated in mock interviews, completed online portfolios and partook in exercises that helped us grow as leaders and prepared us to present our best selves in future interviews and professional situations.

Our favorite part of the program was the non-profit consulting. We helped the HIV/AIDS Resource Center develop marketing strategies to increase participation in one of their annual events, a process that not only exposed us to non-profit consulting but also benefited our community. The team with the winning strategy went on a tour of the entire Big House, locker room included.

This program not only builds your professional character and gives you an amazing experience, but also introduces you to some incredible students and professionals in the University community. Our cohort ate lunch together every Friday, tried to pack as many people as possible into the elevators of Wolverine Tower, explored Ann Arbor on weekends and bonded over a shared passion for the University and the power of philanthropy.

Philanthropy changes lives, and D-SIP is a firsthand look at the process and an introduction to the profession of development. So, consider a summer filled with eye-opening, behind-the-scenes views of the University. Consider meeting donors and listening to their incredible stories about how they’ve become positive agents of change. Consider pushing yourself to discover how you want to change the world, and leave knowing exactly how you can.

Consider D-SIP and check us out on Facebook.

Kate Hertler is an LSA senior and Anand Kumar is an engineering senior.