Know Your Jargon! - Day 1

Bright and early at 9 AM, I arrived with my fellow interns at the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR), which is responsible for developing environmental policies. We were led down to the basement offices, across the street from the Capitol building. If you've ever been to the underground tunnels in Washington, D.C., this basement was very much like that. After the orientation, I attended back-to-back meetings with my supervisor. One was with three staff members, debriefing on the draft for the General Plan Guidelines. The second was a three-hour discussion on the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint Phase 2 with a table of 10-12 CEOs and Directors of various agriculture organizations. It was like entering a science class in the middle of the semester without any background in science. There were different policies of OPR, such as EGPR (Environmental Goals and Policy Report), CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), and GPG (General Plan Guidelines). Try adding ten other acronyms to the mix and all I heard were letters. They even abbreviated people in agriculture as "aggies." At times I felt like I was drowning in environmental policy jargon.

Near the end of the day, the intern supervisor, an Executive Fellow, did a check in with me to ensure that I still wanted to be an intern at OPR. We walked around the Capitol building and sat down on a bench nearby to talk about the projects she thought I would be a good fit for and patiently answered my questions. Upon my return, one of the staff members celebrated his birthday and shared cake with the fellow interns as well! I was also invited to sit in various meetings for this week, which have already been added to my calender. I even get the opportunity to shadow the Deputy Director on a trip to Tahoe and sit in the EGPR workshop - I'll have to arrive by 7:30 this Wednesday for the trip. Although it has been an overwhelming first day, I'm so excited to be learning from the best of the best in Sacramento!

Viviane Nguyen is a UC Berkeley junior majoring in Political Science. She is currently interning in the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) as a Cal in Sacramento Fellow.