UIC Business Scholar and senior year Accounting and IDS double major, Patrick Klimek is a young professional who is making a difference. His summer experience as a 2018 Deloitte Tax intern afforded him an opportunity to give back to young students in need. It all started with Patrick securing an internship with Deloitte, one of the "Big Four" accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world. Patrick discussed how he landed his internship: “As a Business Scholar, we always hear about different career opportunities. Through the program, I was paired with a mentor from EY. Through him, I learned a bit more about the different opportunities within public accounting. I got the chance to meet the Deloitte team and attended their Envision Conference, which led to an internship offer.”
Patrick’s chance to give back came about through Deloitte’s annual “Impact Day,” a celebration of the company’s year-round commitment to local communities. Patrick and a fellow intern, Meredith, were volunteering at a local elementary school and noticed the poor conditions of the books in the library. “A lot of them were older books that we remember reading that we still had at home. We thought, ‘most of our professional colleagues probably have some of these old books that they aren’t using and so we can do something good with them.’”
Meredith realized that the conditions of the books presented an opportunity to help, and Patrick agreed. They went to Deloitte upper management to pitch an idea for a company-wide book drive. Deloitte gave them the greenlight and supported them every step of the way. A Deloitte employee connected them with Open Books, a nonprofit bookstore in Pilsen, less than a mile away from the UIC campus. Patrick and Meredith then set up book drop-off stations across the Deloitte offices in Chicago where employees could donate new or gently used books, CDs, and other media to be donated to their collection of free books for youth in the community.
The book drive was a huge success that lead to a total of 720 donations from Deloitte employees. Patrick was very pleased to see the results of the drive and the impact it had. “Every contribution was able to be used in some way,” Patrick explained. All items were either donated to children and families or resold to support Open Books, which provides free literacy experiences to local readers every year through their various resources, such as their literacy programs and book grants, where they donate engaging, appropriate and high-quality books.
Patrick shared his advice for students who are looking for an internship and want to get involved in giving back. “I think the best thing for students to do is reach out to older students and young alumni. They recently went through the recruiting process and they can give good tips. In terms of getting involved and making a difference, I think it’s really easy to do. If you see something that you are passionate about, do it. People are always going to be willing to help out. The big thing is just raising your hand and saying what you’re interested in doing.”
The book drive has made a positive impact on the company and communities in need. Patrick has recently accepted a full-time opportunity with Deloitte and is considering attending graduate school soon. He also hopes to continue the book drive with summer interns in the coming years.