By Brette Stockmaster
I am fortunate in many ways this summer, and I have had the opportunity to intern at the Haverford Partnership for Economic Development (hereinafter HPED) alongside fellow Haverford student Anna Neuheardt ’19. As she has highlighted in her blog post back in May, “the mission of HPED, a non-profit that works closely with the Township and the Civic Council, is to ‘promote economic growth by supporting local businesses, enhancing the image of Haverford Township, and revitalizing our business districts and public spaces.’” I have spent almost 6 weeks here, and I have witnessed this mission being put to work.
This past Tuesday, July 10th, I was tasked with reflecting on my time interning at HPED. There was a board meeting at 7pm that night, and Anna and I needed to construct a report reviewing all our projects. There is breath in the type of work I have been given at HPED. We have had the opportunity to immerse ourselves into the Haverford Township community. We have distributed fliers for an event in which HPED was helping – Moonlight Dining. Subsequently, we have run a booth at said event helping to promote HPED and a booth at a meet and greet event at the new township building. I have even found myself getting a little dirty this summer, for I have aided with community beatification projects which consist of weeding, planting, and watering planters across the township. Sometimes we are in one-on-one settings with community members; an example of this type of interaction is with the interviews that Anna and I conducted with new business owners in the area. Although we are active in the community this summer, much of our time is spent in a law office (an HPED board member has graciously let us use part of his law office as our work space). At the office, Anna and I tend to collaborate via Google Docs and also work on independent projects. For instance, we take turns writing paragraphs for articles for the HPED monthly newsletter. As for individual projects, my main projects are a market analysis and a restaurant guide, respectively. With the market analysis, I am shifting through census and credit card data that the Pennsylvania Downtown Center has provided HPED. The report is focusing on the retail types that have the greatest sales leakage (sales leakage is when residents are spending more than the community businesses are making in revenue). This report aims to be a tool to help HPED and Haverford Township better understand what business are most needed in the township. As for the restaurant guide, this project consists of listing and describing the restaurants in the township and then using graphic design tools to build the report. Like I mentioned, there is definitely breadth in the work of a HPED intern.
Something that I will always remember about this summer is the impact that I have been able to make. HPED has one (awesome) part-time director, meaning that Anna and I spend many hours in the office working independently on our projects. When I create a piece of to add to the literature of Haverford Township, I can proudly take ownership of it. Furthermore, Anna and I have participated in meetings with township officials and neighboring community development organizations. At 19 and now 20, I honestly am shocked to have had the opportunity to have made such indefinable impacts to an organization.
I am majoring in International Studies at Bryn Mawr and concentrating in Italian and Italian Studies with a possible minor in Economics. With Haverford’s liberal arts education and the interdisciplinary nature of my studies, the greatest aspect of my education has been learning how to learn. From collaborating with Anna to writing blog posts to analyzing data from the PDC to pulling out bushes during a beatification project – Haverford has prepared me to learn how to tackle each of these tasks. I may not be using daily my Italian language skills or my graphic design skills that I have refined while at HPED, but I will always be learning. After this internship and my four years at Haverford, I will take with me a passion for learning and the ability to do it quickly.