by Emily Peplowski ’17, Hunger Banquet Research and Concert Outreach Intern
This summer, I have been working closely with Oxfam America’s Community Engagement team on two of their biggest advocacy projects, Hunger Banquets and Concerts. My personal responsibility this summer has been to organize Oxfam volunteers from across the country for the U.S. leg of Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams Tour.” By the end of my internship, I will have received over 500 volunteer applications, and coordinated 220 volunteers for 22 different shows, in 19 different cities as part of Oxfam’s global Stand as One Campaign.
The best part of my job is that I get to engage with the grass-roots foundation of a much larger, global effort. The incredible volunteers at these shows are essential in reaching the Stand As One campaign’s goal of 500,000 “signatures of solidarity” to support those globally who have been forced to flee their homes. This list of signatures will be presented to world leaders at the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants in the fall, is led by the international organization Oxfam, is backed by Chris Martin and Coldplay, and represents such a global and current issue. Despite the massiveness of this effort and the high profile people involved, the success of the campaign is largely dependent on the volunteers that I have been coordinating all summer. It goes without saying that getting to work closely with- and see- the Coldplay tour has been a pretty cool part of my internship too!
I think what has surprised me most is how complicated and challenging volunteer coordination really is. There are many moving parts in each city, for each show, on every team, and with every individual volunteer. Sitting at my computer in Boston, it is difficult to keep track of all of these moving parts to ensure that Coldplay will have ten Oxfam volunteers at each of their shows to promote the campaign. With the 22 shows happening all across the United States in only 45 days, it is a fast-paced work environment with daily deadlines and not much room for error. Volunteer coordination is a fun position to have, and I love to work with so many different people for a great organization, but it really keeps me on my toes and tests my ability to adapt and problem solve!