A Summer Downtown: Interning and Experiencing Elmira

June 23 2017
Category: Academics

Summer is here and for many Elmira College students, that means internships. Our #SoaringToSuccess series will spotlight some of the internships our students are completing this season, starting with Jessica McKelvis ’18. Jessica, a business administration major with concentrations in marketing and management, is interning with Elmira Downtown Development.

Student Jessica McKelvis at her internship for Elmira Downtown Development Wine glass for Elmira Downtown Development  

Let’s head to downtown Elmira and learn more from Jessica…

I began my internship search in the winter and the Office of Career Services recommended I look into Elmira Downtown Development. I have lived in the Elmira area my whole life, but had never heard of the organization. It is a non-profit focused on promoting the downtown, business improvement district of Elmira. The organization covers a 52-block area of the city and focuses on bringing the community together. Our purpose is to represent Elmira in a positive way, which we accomplish by hosting a variety of events throughout the year.

When I first started at Elmira Downtown Development (EDD) in January, the team was really great at accommodating my class schedule. Only having to drive five minutes from campus to get to work was extremely helpful. EDD only has two employees: the executive director and the marketing and special events coordinator. Therefore I am getting a great deal of hands-on experience working in the non-profit industry.

I work closely with the team and learn all of their tricks of the trade. Our office often handles many tasks at once and every day is different. I slowly started to observe the day-to-day operations of a non-profit organization and although it can be stressful at times, it is always extremely rewarding to see the good we are doing for the community.

Alive After Five Event for Elmira Downtown

For the summer, I am responsible for all the social media and public relations aspects of the business. I attend all of the Wisner Market and Alive After 5 events to take pictures, post, and share in order to draw in larger audiences.

Wisner Market is a farmers market that assists in promoting local, small businesses from the area and gives the community an opportunity to enjoy lunch in the park. Additionally, Alive After 5 is a free summer concert series every other Friday from May to September. Each concert has a different location and business sponsor from the business improvement district in Elmira.

In addition, we host a weekend-long Street Painting Festival with hundreds of local artists coming together to draw amazing murals with chalk in the streets of downtown Elmira. Many other events are planned throughout the year to impact the community in vibrant ways.

All of these events are growing and becoming more successful at demonstrating how Elmira offers incredible opportunities and things to experience. As EDD is a not-for-profit, any proceeds raised at one event go toward hosting the next event. We are very focused on finding sponsors from the local businesses and rely on the personal relationships that are formed with those businesses.

Interning for Elmira Downtown Development has vastly expanded my network of connections and has opened my eyes to the whole other side of Elmira outside of Elmira College. I have become more comfortable and confident approaching people through email, phone, and in person. I enjoy being able to combine my love for creativity with my passion in business as a marketing intern right in my own backyard. This opportunity has provided me with more experience than I could have ever achieved in a classroom and has taught me lessons I will carry with me for the rest of my life.