1) What is my role?
Your primary role in the internship is LEARNING. In order to use the internship experience to benefit you after college, you need to make sure that you are acquiring skills that can be used in a variety of settings after the internship is complete. Therefore, you do not have an obligation to save a faltering business nor do you have the obligation to do clerical work the entire time period. You are obligated to attain skills that will benefit you in the future.
2) What if I have problems?
What happens if your site supervisor is not giving you the opportunity to LEARN? What if the site supervisor limits your activities to answering phones or filing? Should you leave? Should you stay? Clearly, every job entails some amount of unskilled tasks, thus, do not be discouraged if you are doing some clerical work. You should be concerned, however, if the majority of your time is spent doing these tasks. If this is the case, we offer to suggestions.
First, approach your site supervisor about your concerns. Your site supervisor should be made aware that you are having problems. S/he may have no idea that you desire other jobs. One way to approach your site supervisor is by suggesting alternative tasks that you have seen other people doing. Offer to work on a pet project or some other matter. If s/he rejects your offer, than you can directly ask the supervisor exactly what s/he sees you doing during your internship experience.
Second, if you have spoken to the site supervisor and you have determined that you will not be learning or acquiring any marketable skills, you should consider finding a new internship. Remember, your internship is for YOU! It is not just another class you are taking to graduate. It is the BRIDGE that will take you from school to a paid job. The more effort you put into finding a suitable internship, the more likely you will be able to find a good position after your school career ends.