Let’s talk trash (and recycling)

Fall greetings from the coast! OBXFS ’18 student Emma Szczesiul is sharing a post about her internship for the semester. 

Do you like to talk trash? And recycling? Do you like to see the inner workings of local government in a thriving coastal tourist town? I got to do all these things this semester as I had the pleasure of working at the Town of Nags Head for my internship!

As one of 2 OBXFS student interns for Holly White, the Principal Planner at the Town of Nags Head, I had the opportunity to work on preliminary work and feasibility studies on commercial recycling for the town. With no current commercial recycling program (through residential recycling is picked up every week), I worked with my fellow intern to take an inventory of commercial dumpster size, location, and route for all commercial trash pickup spots in Nags Head. And yes, this did involve waking up at 4:30AM and riding around in a garbage truck! With a current need to switch from side-load dumpsters to front-load dumpsters, the inventory was needed to see which businesses have not yet converted. This data will also be put into GIS for route-tracking and management, and allows for the town to see which businesses still need to make the switch.

Aside from trash duties, I was able to attend monthly Board of Commissioners meetings and get a feel for how local government works. As a special treat early on in the semester, I traveled to NC State to see Holly speak at the screening of Tidewater, a documentary that discusses sea level rise (SLR) and its impact on coastal areas and the military.

First day on the job!

My other day-to-day duties include communicating project updates to other team members, reviewing documents with Holly, researching materials when needed, and, like any good intern, making sure my mentor is well caffeinated (coffee, anyone?).

Looking back on this picture from my first day at work, I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed! From riding around in town cars to spending long days in the conference room going through files, I’m thankful for this opportunity for professional development and the kind, hard-working people I’ve met along the way.



Emma Szczesiul

OBXFS ’18 / UNC ’19