Membership Opportunities Society Wide

My First Three Weeks at Better World Books

Better World Books Intern - Erin HorningErin Horning
Alpha Iota Theta Chapter
Penn State Altoona
Altoona, PA

It wasn’t until I nearly tripped with excitement on my way to the stage in New Orleans to receive a warm Better World Books (BWB) welcome that I realized I wasn’t imagining it. I clutched my brand new “Well Read” T-shirt and let it sink in. I would soon drive fifteen-hours from Williamsport, Pennsylvania to Alpharetta, Georgia where I’d spend six weeks as the Sigma Tau Delta/Better World Books intern.

Office Entrance
Office Entrance

I read about this internship in a Sigma Tau Delta newsletter. I was already familiar with Better World Books through our campus book drives, but I headed over to to find out more about the company. Better World Books—a for-profit company helping local and international literacy initiatives. Oh, and they’re also good for the environment? Sign me up! Now, I’m halfway done and can’t believe how quickly time is flying. The last three weeks at Better World Books have been remarkable. My supervisors have had my goals in mind since before I even started. “We want to shape this internship around your goals. What would make this a valuable experience for you?” they asked during my interview. I responded like any good English major would: “Words! Feed me words!” I explained how much I love being a writing tutor and then tried to summarize my long-term professional goals of working in marketing or public relations.

The Acquisitions Department (Where I Work)
The Acquisitions Department (Where I Work)

What BWB created for me was a project list that will surely benefit me as I graduate and enter the world of job seekers in December. What have I done so far? I’ve already presented information to my team about Sigma Tau Delta, helped create an important survey that’s been sent to thousands of book drivers, and wrote an exciting new job description that will open up more opportunities for student groups. In between the larger projects, I’ve been attending meetings, tweeting for BWBonCampus, and editing miscellaneous documents.  Every employee at BWB is friendly, helpful, and so good at what they do. Since this company is rooted in philanthropy, I expected that the employees would be genuinely invested in the work they’re doing. I was right. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of trust and respect my co-workers have shown me.

Book Drop Box
Book Drop Box

The most memorable moment so far happened just a couple of days after I arrived. A representative from PLAN came to BWB to bring the employees up-to-date on the status of BWB’s fundraising efforts to help children in Haiti. I left the PLAN presentation brimming with gratitude and inspiration. Working for a company that chooses to make a Better World for people thousands of miles away is something I hope I can do forever. I feel so lucky to be working in the company of people with such proactive goals for themselves and others.

Shakespeare Room
Every room at BWB is named after a famous author. This is called the Shakespeare Room.

Working 30 hours a week gives me plenty of time to explore. Each weekend I try a different stop on the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) and let my inner tourist run wild. Downtown Atlanta is full of good food and great people. The iced tea is sweet, the highways are busy, and the weather gives a new definition to the word “hot.” I absolutely love it. I’m looking forward three more weeks of challenging, rewarding, and fun experiences at Better World Books. Before I know it, I’ll be drafting a post for the BWB blog about the final three weeks of my internship. In that post, I’ll have to really try to keep my bitterness about leaving at bay.

Thank you, Better World Books, Sigma Tau Delta, and my professors at Penn State Altoona who’ve helped make this internship possible. I will carry this experience with me long after I leave Alpharetta.

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