The White Box event space at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters was getting loud and rowdy in the late afternoon on Tuesday, July 16 as 95 interns from three New York City offices sang along to music, socialized and volunteered to help others in need. Meanwhile, similar events ramped up at the Los Angeles and Nashville offices, as approximately 160 interns in all three cities got to work for two incredible non-profit organizations, Rise Against Hunger and Free Arts NYC.
The coordinated cross-country sessions were part of Viacom’s first-ever Intern Viacommunity Day, a scaled-down version of Viacom’s annual global Viacommunity Day, which places thousands of volunteers to help out in local communities, typically in the spring. The collaboration between the Viacommunity corporate social responsibility team and the Campus to Career program grants summer interns a chance to participate in an equally impactful event.
“Viacom’s internship program is great; I’ve had a ton of exposure to company-wide events,” said intern Aliza White. “Summer interns aren’t here for Viacommunity Day, but the intern-only rendition of this was super cool. Viacom’s dedication to giving back and to helping others is amazing, and it really drives the great internal culture of the company.”
On one side of the large New York City room, interns created an assembly line to package food for disaster relief. They cheered each time the massive gong sounded, indicating that they had boxed 1,000 more meals. Overall, our Burbank and New York interns prepared more than 20,000 pre-packaged meals for Rise Against Hunger, which will send them out to feed the most vulnerable among us.
Elsewhere, interns painted bags with designs ranging from SpongeBob characters to inspirational quotes and images. The teams in New York and Nashville decorated more than 100 bags that Free Arts NYC – which seeks to empower underserved youth through art and mentoring programs –will disperse to children in their programs.
“Strategizing new ways to give back to our communities is one of the things that I love most about working at Viacom,” said CSR Coordinator Margarita Papadogiannis. “I believe that when we encourage our young professionals to volunteer, we are also inspiring them to continue to advocate for the causes they are passionate about. My goal with Intern Viacommunity Day is to equip more millennials with the mindset, tools and connections necessary to influence social change.”
The Viacommunity Day for interns grew from a collaborative effort between Viacommunity and Viacom’s Campus to Career department, one of many such partnerships designed to ensure that everyone with a passion for philanthropy or volunteerism has the opportunity to give back.
“I was so excited to spearhead this event and bring it to fruition because I interned with the Corporate Social Responsibility team in Summer 2014 and Viacommunity became a passion of mine,” said Campus to Career Coordinator Chelsey Kupferman. “I feel volunteerism and prosocial efforts within a corporate culture are super important as they increase employee engagement and create a sense of positivity all around. It is so rewarding to give back!”
Campus to Careers also incorporates programs such as Bob Live (in which Viacom CEO Bob Bakish addresses the company and takes questions from employees), The Scoop (updates on Campus to Career events and programs), intern special focus groups, networking circles, exclusive speaker sessions and more opportunities for interns to educate themselves, experience the company’s unique and authentic culture, and grow as future leaders and workers.
Intern Viacommunity Day was a tremendous success and impacted hundreds of families and children in need. It demonstrated Viacom’s core values and dedication towards social responsibility efforts, while illustrating the upbeat, positive culture that employees and interns experience every day. Not surprisingly, enthusiasm among participants ran high at transforming Intern Viacommunity Day into an annual initiative.