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Intern Spotlight – Lenny Zaleski

Ohio Environmental Council, July 19, 2022

Hello! My name is Lenny Zaleski, I am a rising sophomore at the University of Dayton double majoring in Communication and Political Science with a focus on Public Relations. I am a political intern at the Ohio Environmental Council and OEC Action Fund, with my body of work focusing on political communications, research, and fundraising! I also assist on the advocacy side. I am half way through my internship with the OEC, and I have loved all of it so far! I was in the office earlier than some of the intern cohort because UD’s Statehouse Civic Scholars cohort arrives in Columbus earlier than many of the other OEC interns do. One unique aspect of this is that I’ve worked in the office as the only intern as well as a member of a cohort, and it has been an amazing experience. 

Before coming to the OEC, I was involved in a variety of volunteer and internship roles relating to communications and nonprofit work. I completed a term of service with AmeriCorps through UD as a Library Aide with the Dayton Metro Library, working with students and assisting them with homework while also engaging my community to grow the program. As an AmeriCorps member, I was chosen as my chapter’s LeaderCorps representative at ServeOhio, the state of Ohio’s commission on service and volunteerism, where I led volunteer events and created a strategic communications plan for my chapter to increase recruitment for the summer service term. While serving in AmeriCorps, I was also a volunteer with a refugee-led nonprofit that provided immigration and family services, where I helped write a case statement that was sent to new donors and volunteers to grow the organization. After I finished volunteering there, I began volunteering with two amazing organizations, Be Hope Immigration Center and the Dayton Peace Museum, working on communications and development projects to support the nonprofits. 

Around this time, I was also offered an internship with the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center, working as Student Engagement and Communications intern, floating between our two intern teams. I work there every school year now, with my project in the fall being a strategic communications plan to reach out to professional organizations on campus. Next year, I will intern for the City of Dayton Human Relations Council as a Public Affairs/Comms Intern, helping them design a new website, create a posting schedule for their social media, and run their platforms! 

I chose the OEC for my internship this summer for a variety of reasons. On campus, I am involved in our Sustainability Club and plan service events as the Community Engagement Chair. I believe our climate and natural world needs protection, and the intersection of marginalized groups being affected by the climate often goes unnoticed. Working to support champions of the environment who will help keep Ohio beautiful for generations has been a very rewarding and fun experience, while also advocating key issues in Energy and other areas of the environment. 

When I am not working or studying, I love reading, indie music and collecting vinyls, and the outdoors! I spend a lot of time in downtown Dayton exploring the city, going to shows and festivals, and meeting new people! I am excited for the second half of my internship, and can’t wait to continue to bond with our intern cohort and grow together. 

-Lenny Zaleski, Political Intern