Summer Interns: Paul de Konkoly Thege

A few weeks ago I asked our amazing Summer 2012 Interns to share a few stories of their summer with WRP for the blog! First up is Paul:

My name is Paul de Konkoly Thege. This summer I worked as the “Williams College Environmental Science Intern” for the White Roof Project. As my title would suggest, I’m studying Environmental Science at Williams College.

Among the numerous other things I do to spend my time and keep myself sane up there, I’m also studying jazz and classical guitar and the “instructor” of the fencing club. I live on 10th St. between University Place and Broadway and I have lived there all my life, which is one of the reasons my work this summer appealed so much to me! I love LES and have been happy to try and serve its infrastructural needs with WRP.

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The most rewarding part of my participation with the White Roof Project has probably been the results of my outreach work. Heather asked me to go around LES and pitch white roofing to several businesses and nonprofits, which yielded initially few results. But after I got the hang of it and extended my work a little farther up to midtown, I got two organizations (SUNY and Nazareth Housing) to each consent to painting one of their buildings. While this may seem like a minute victory, it really proved to me that direct human interactions can be meaningful and convincing in a way that mere information out in the public sphere/media void cannot. I was a proponent and believer of this idea before this had even happened, so I’m very lucky to have had that belief reinforced without prior evidence rather than have it dashed and feel like an idiot…

As for a fun story, the time that my coworkers and I painted the second coat on the roof of La Mama stands out for me. We had helped lay down the first coat earlier that month with the help of several FAB employees as well as an entire Japanese news crew shooting a segment on white roofing, but the number of people up on the roof for that event proved somewhat undesirable both in terms of comfort and efficiency. For the second coat, it was a far leaner crew consisting of Juan, Heather, Spencer (our friend and La Mama staff consort), Katina and I. We painted the roof with surprising ease and speed despite the small group. And I learned all sorts of awesome things about everyone there throughout the day, not the least of which was Juan’s glory days of filmmaking and music festival attendance!

Thank you to everyone at White Roof Project who made me feel helpful, valuable and professional! Don’t hesitate to contact me during the year with projects or requests–I’d love to keep helping the organization prosper beyond this summer.

Fittingly, I’ll end this post with my WRP email signature:

Paul de Konkoly Thege
Williams College Environmental Science Intern | White Roof Project


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