Behind the Scenes at SXSW
Internship leads SU graduate to a job with the world’s largest music festival
Most Southwestern students, faculty and staff look forward to some rest over spring break.
But for Dempsey Jones, who graduated from Southwestern in 2013 with a degree in communication studies and a minor in theatre arts, spring break is her busiest time of the year.
Jones serves as the Platinum Conference Crews Volunteer Coordinator for SXSW – a job that involves overseeing a large fraction of the more than 4,000 volunteers who commit their time to the annual music, film and interactive festival that draws nearly 150,000 visitors to Austin every spring.
Jones landed the job at SXSW after interning with them for two years while she was attending Southwestern. At Southwestern, Jones also was very active in the University Programming Council (UPC), an event planning organization responsible for the Friday Night Live series, as well as sponsoring and running Clusterfest, a music festival that has occurred each April for the past three years.
Jones said working as a Clusterfest co-chair (one of three students who are completely in charge of planning, booking and executing Clusterfest), as well as her internships, gave her the experience she needed to succeed at SXSW.
“Internships allow you to apply what you’ve learned at Southwestern to the real world while becoming a critical thinker,” Jones said. “When you’re applying to a job and there are 20 other resumes, yours will stick out because you have that experience.”
Jones said she plans to work for SXSW for as long as possible.
“SXSW is more than music, more than film, more than technology,” she said. “It’s a family.”
− Daniel Dumitru