Why I Wanted to Intern for the Office of Water Communication’s Team

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By Danielle Nichols

The multitude of internships available to college students can feel overwhelming. How does one narrow down thousands of opportunities into a few applications and further into one acceptance? Fortunately for me, this process was simple; I knew I wanted to intern for the Office of Water Communication’s team.

As an Environmental Science major at William Paterson University, I focus most of my coursework on water related subjects. I became interested in the government’s role in protecting both the water of its country’s ecosystems and its potable sources for its citizens. Last summer, I further explored these topics when studying abroad at Cambridge University. I researched the various types of governmental and constitutional protections nations use to ensure their citizen’s access to clean and safe drinking water.

This experience reinforced the necessity of protecting a nation’s water supply and its interconnectivity to other societal concerns. Without access to clean, safe and affordable water, citizens are unable to fully participate in a democratic society.

Although I felt informed on these issues, I knew that many of my peers were not. When speaking to other students about drinking water, most thought that tap water was unsafe because it was inexpensive and easily accessible. Even many of my fellow environmental science majors, whom have taken hydrology courses, doubted the quality of their tap water! As president of our campus’ environmental science club, I decided that these misconceptions must be addressed.

Last year, our club began working with the Food & Water Watch on their Take Back the Tap campaign. Our main goal is to inform students how to access municipal water quality reports, encourage students to use refillable water bottles and to get more water refill stations on campus. Through the efforts of our campaign team, more students are learning about their tap, using reusable bottles and demanding more water refill stations.

Since I was familiar with the Office of Water’s Bring Back the Water Fountain program and its relation to my campus’ campaign, I knew that this internship would help me to more effectively communicate information about tap water to my peers. As a new intern, I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to learning more about working for the Office of Water’s communications team.

About the author: Danielle Nichols is a rising senior at William Paterson University majoring in environmental science with an honors concentration in life science and environmental ethics and a minor in political science.  Outside of academic work, she enjoys organizing several environmental campaigns on campus.