Climate Career Corps intern Felix Lin talks about his illuminating experience interning with Refuse Refuse.
Refuse Refuse San Francisco has been our partner since 2022. They are a grassroots organization dedicated to cleaning up the streets of San Francisco through organized volunteer efforts and policy activism. Enterprise for Youth departmental intern Tiffany Liang shadowed Climate Career Corps intern Felix Lin as he and his boss at Refuse Refuse, Vincent Yuen, walked around San Francisco’s Richmond district putting flyers up. Felix is a first-year college student who grew up in Texas and moved to San Francisco to study environmental sciences at the University of San Francisco.
Why did you become interested in this internship with Refuse Refuse?
I have a drive to help the environment, and I’ve always been aware of current events and the climate crisis. Growing up, I would see my friends litter, and get frustrated. Environmental awareness is not very present in Texas. I read about this internship in a newsletter for my department at USF and thought it would be a chance to get more involved in environmental activism and start learning how to be a leader.
Can you walk me through your day-to-day? What are your roles and responsibilities?
Mostly, it’s helping with outreach and cleanups. Another project of mine has been making, painting, and then distributing cigarette butt cans around the city to help keep the streets free of litter. That project really helped make me aware of the trash in the city.
“This internship seemed like a chance to get more involved in environmental activism and start learning how to be a leader.”
What skills have you learned from this internship? Are they applicable to other jobs?
I’ve learned a lot of interpersonal skills. At cleanups, I take an assistant/co-leader position with my boss Vincent handing out materials and equipment. This has strengthened my leadership skills. I also got to learn more about outreach by helping with the emailing list. My ability to use Excel has improved as well. And yeah, I’d say all these skills are applicable to other jobs.
Do you have a favorite part of this internship?
I really like it when I’m actually doing the cleanups. It makes me feel good knowing I’m doing something impactful for the environment and the community.
What is something important or helpful that your boss Vincent has taught you?
He taught me how to lead cleanups and, in general, helped me with my leadership skills. We’ve gotten surprisingly close during this internship, he has been like my mentor. I go to him to ask him for life advice, talk to him about my problems in college, or just anything in general.
Is there any advice you want to give regarding environmental awareness?
Be involved in the community. I think that’s really important. For environmental science, there’s always something you could be doing or addressing. Having a place in the community lets you apply your skills.
“It makes me feel good knowing I’m doing something impactful for the environment and the community.”
Learn more about Enterprise’s Climate Career Corps.
By Francis Orkin, Writing Intern at Enterprise for Youth 2022-2023
Interview by Tiffany Liang, Communications Intern at Enterprise for Youth, 2022-2023
Interview responses edited for clarity