APPLES Internships Offer New Summer Experiences

Eve Elliott, APPLES Summer Fellow

As every Carolina student knows, summertime brings many familiar things: sunshine, hometowns and hopefully a few months of fresh watermelon and ice cream. But for 40 Tar Heels, this season will be the start of something else. During the first weeks of summer, these students began service-learning internships with nonprofits and other organizations in the Triangle area and across the state.

These internships are part of the APPLES Service-Learning program through the Carolina Center for Public Service. Through this program, students engage in an immersive professional experience with local nonprofits, government agencies and other service organizations while receiving a stipend and course credit. The internships present students with the opportunity to explore a variety of fields including public policy, education, environmental sustainability and the arts. Funding for the internship program is provided by student fees, community partner funds and support from private donors and campus partnerships.

Interns also enroll in an online course relating to their service through the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education and in partnership with the School of Social Work.

Eleanor Murray, a sophomore from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, just began her internship with the Campus Y at UNC-Chapel Hill. She will work closely with the CUBE, the Campus Y’s social venture incubator, to create tools, modules, and programs for student social entrepreneurship programming.

“My favorite part of my internship so far has been meeting and collaborating with the many amazing people who focus on social entrepreneurship for their careers,” Murray said.  “They have most definitely inspired me to question how I can make my own mark on campus.”

This year, APPLES also worked with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Politics (IOP) to help facilitate public service internships with political organizations and elected officials.

Caroline Carpenter, a junior from Elon, North Carolina and IOP internship coordinator, is excited about combining the goals and opportunities of these programs.

Carpenter said, “Both programs focus on creating public service opportunities and experiences beyond what you can obtain in a classroom setting, so it made sense to combine the two programs. We can offer students options in a wide array of areas that they might not be aware of if they just applied to one program. For example, those interested in environmental studies could apply to both the North Carolina Botanical Gardens and the City of Raleigh Sustainability Office.”

Sara Lafontaine, a junior from Cary, North Carolina, is one of the interns who found an opportunity with the IOP and APPLES. Hoping to learn more about environmental health policy, Lafontaine just started her internship with the City of Raleigh’s Office of Sustainability. Specifically, Lafontaine will be focusing on advocacy and policy service as she works to support the Community-wide Climate Action Plan (CCAP).

“I will be providing research to analyze the CCAP and determine if there are any alternative policies that could improve the plan,” said Lafontaine. “Furthermore, I will create an inventory of dates of meetings within every department, such as Waste, Energy and Carbon, to increase the efficiency within the Office of Sustainability.”

Lafontaine sees the internship as an opportunity to provide context to her environmental health policy studies at Carolina.

“I can apply service-learning ideas to my internship to understand from a people perspective the effects that the CCAP will have on those living in Raleigh and surrounding areas. I am interested in environmental health policy, and seeing the change that will happen this summer with the CCAP will be instrumental in helping me understand how policies are enacted in cities.”

Interns like Lafontaine will complete more than 300 hours of service and share their experiences with poster presentations at the end of the summer. Follow @unc_apples on Instagram for internship updates and spotlights.