Philadelphia is currently gearing up for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which the city will host from July 25 to 28. But one Drexel student has been preparing since last year.
Greta Jusyte, a junior political science and international area studies double major, took an internship with the Philadelphia Host Committee, the nonprofit organization responsible for showcasing the city during the DNC. During the fall 2015 and winter 2016, she worked as a finance and research intern, raising money to stage events for the DNC. Jusyte worked in the organization’s finance department, which played an integral role in determining what the Host Committee could accomplish.
“It’s responsible for raising tens of millions of dollars to fund the various weeklong events that will be taking place during the fourth week of July,” she explained.
The College of Arts and Sciences student primarily worked with the chief financial officer and the deputy finance director of the organization. Her responsibilities included researching prospective Fortune 500 donors, constructing an internal financial database to manage all of the funds raised and preparing sponsorship packages to inform prospective donors of giving options.
On top of all of that, she was juggling a full load of courses as well as another job as a research assistant in Drexel’s Department of Politics.
“I decided to take this internship because it was both a rare and exciting opportunity,” Jusyte said. “The Democratic National Convention already only comes around every four years and it's even rarer that Philadelphia would host it.”
She found out about the opportunity through connections she made at her co-op in Comcast’s Political Affairs department. Jusyte was involved with Comcast’s Political Action Committee (PAC), which is the fifth-largest corporate PAC in the nation. To gain experience in corporate campaign finance and employee engagement, she helped coordinate all aspects of the disbursement process for the PAC as well as the corporate political giving program at Comcast.
Prior to her spring/summer 2015 co-op, Philadelphia was selected as the host city for the DNC. The news spread throughout the city and the country, as well as within Comcast’s Political Affairs department.
“Comcast’s vice president of political engagement and corporate administration was actually the one to encourage me to seek out the opportunity and connected me to the staff at the Host Committee,” explained Jusyte.
After completing her co-op at Comcast, Jusyte started her internship in September 2015, which was seven months after Philadelphia had been chosen. She still was able to see the Host Committee continue to grow as it rose to the challenge of coordinating an event expected to bring about 50,000 people to the city.
“It was both exciting and challenging to be involved at that point,” said Jusyte. “Host Committees change every four years and everything had to be built from scratch. It was — and is — a lot of work, but failure is simply not an option because our city must put on a great convention.”
Jusyte has since ended her internship, but she hopes to attend as many events as possible during the DNC. Currently, she is back on co-op at Comcast in the same department. Both of these positions have exposed her to national politics and helped her decide to get her master’s degree in public policy or public administration after graduation.
“Overall, my experience at Comcast and at the Host Committee have complemented each other,” she said. “The Host Committee exposed me to fundraising that is very similar to campaign fundraising, while my work at Comcast has exposed me to campaign finance and the operations, compliance and disclosure functions of a politically active Fortune 50 company. Through both of them, I learned more about political and civic engagement through the lens of large organizations.”
Another bonus? She helped show off Philadelphia and made it possible for the city to put on its first political convention since the 2000 Republican National Convention.
“I loved working toward highlighting and showcasing the city of Philadelphia, which through my four years at Drexel has become a city I’ve grown to love,” said Jusyte.