My CCIL Summer Fellowship

My CCIL Summer Fellowship

Summer Fellow Lars Benson reflects on his summer working for Common Cause Illinois

I joined Common Cause as a Summer Fellow because I wanted an internship experience that meant something. The work I did was more than just a resume line – it made an impact on the future of my state and my country. While my friends spent their summer internships in cubicles and stuffy offices, I got to hit the streets, organizing for fair elections and campaign finance reform.

Working for Common Cause thrust me into the center of political organizing in Illinois. On my very first day, I represented Common Cause and spoke to dozens of protesters about healthcare reform. I wrote opinion pieces in support of automatic voter registration that were published in statewide newspapers across Illinois. I attended speeches by legendary activists and political leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Young. And I helped shape Common Cause’s expansion in Illinois and across the midwest.

Beyond the meaningful work I did, this summer also gave me skills that will help me in every part of my career. The staff and fellows at CCIL were accessible, helpful, and always willing to give me advice. My supervisor helped me craft my personal story and become a better organizer, worked with me to improve my resume and record, and went out of his way to connect me with leaders in the nonprofit sector and Chicago activism who shared my values. My team of fellows were enthusiastic, supportive, and every bit as passionate as I was. Common Cause’s values of teamwork and collaboration helped me learn and grow as an organizer and activist more than any college class or political campaign. I’ve learned that activism requires compromise, coalition-building, and relentless perseverance – and Common Cause has given me the experience and skills I need to pursue my political passions beyond this summer.

Becoming a Common Cause Fellow is a valuable experience for anyone who cares about politics and government. In a time when our country’s political landscape seems increasingly desolate for young activists, this fellowship has empowered me to fight for voting rights, economic equality, and election reform in Chicago, on my campus, and in my future career. If you care about the future of our country and want to make a difference, CCIL is the place for you.

Interested applicants should submit a current resume to