5Q Summer Edition: Mansbridge Summit Intern Rebecca Butler
8/9/2017 9:36:20 AM

Rebecca_Butler_Web1- What is your summer internship and what will you take away from this experience?

I’m working in the Alumni Office as the (very last!) Mansbridge Summit intern. I’m responsible for the planning and execution of both the final Mansbridge Summit and our campus send-off of Chancellor Mansbridge in a student farewell celebration.

I’m very interested in community engagement and so far this internship has provided me with a great opportunity to incorporate that passion for event planning and the nitty gritty aspects of event production with my more intangible academic interests. As this year’s Summit will centralize around the University’s theme of “Indigenous Action,” I’ve been able to devote a great deal of time to researching and engaging with topics of Indigeneity to insure the Summit reflects our community’s need for reconciliation and decolonization as authentically and effectively as possible. I really value the dual aspect of this internship and know it will greatly inform my future work critically engaging with the social issues I’m passionate about and helping me enact concrete, valuable change through hands-on advocacy and engagement.

2- What is the best thing about summer in Sackville?

I’d say just how slow everything is. Anyone that knows me knows I’m very energetic and “go go go,” so I really love that living in the quiet little Sackville summer bubble forces me to slow things down and decompress. Also, less people in town means the circular booths in Ducky’s are generally free — so that’s a definite plus!

3- What are you involved in on campus?

This coming year I’m forcing myself to commit to a little less so I spend more time studying because I heard a rumour that your fourth year marks are really important to grad schools for some reason? (haha) But I’m co-chair of this year’s Feminist Leadership Conference and plan to return to The Pond with Presents for some improv as a scheduled bout of stress-relief each week. In the past I’ve held a variety of roles with the Motyer-Fancy Theatre — performing and stage managing — so I hope I get the chance to work on at least one more play before April. Additionally, I plan to continue to contribute to The Argosy, support Divest, and participate in the Vagina Monologues.

4- What are you looking forward to most about your final year at Mount A?

As an international relations student, I spent a fair deal of my degree taking an interdisciplinary selection of courses (economics, Spanish, English literature, etc.). These courses were interesting and taught me lots, but weren’t topics I’m as passionate about as core international relations credits. So now that I’m in my fourth year and all my requirements have been fulfilled, I get to take a bunch of upper-year international relations and political science courses and seminars that cater directly to my specific academic interests. So, essentially, I’m looking forward to a year of enjoying (and not dreading) completing all of my required readings. As well, I’m moving into an apartment with my two best friends, so I’m really looking forward to spending my year with them before graduating forces us out into the world in separate directions.

5- What are your post-grad plans?

I’m looking to become an East Coast cliché by moving to Montreal after graduation in order to lay some roots and decompress while I determine what to do next. Although I don’t know specifically what form my work will take, I know engaging in some sort of social/political advocacy is definitely on the horizon.

Top considerations right now are law school, a master’s in public policy/administration and even some form of media training (journalism? film school? Who knows?!) So although I’m not sure exactly what to do next, I’m very grateful to have found topics and issues that make my heart sing and my blood boil and I’m confident I’ll find a path that allows me to make meaningful change for the communities I care about, while giving me enough pocket change to pay back some of these student loans.

Bonus question: If you could give one piece of advice to first-year students, what would it be?

Spend time savouring your academic uncertainty! I stepped onto campus eager and raring to go, certain I was going to major in international relations and determined to take all of the required courses as efficiently as possible. But your degree is designed for you to explore the many courses and disciplines Mount A has to offer. I wish I had slowed down and taken a history course, Canadian studies, maybe even poetry, or religion. So don’t feel pressured to decide your major and minor right away, spend the first two years enjoying a little bit of everything — I promise you, you have tons of time.