RLP: A Small Acronym With A Big Impact

Really Lit Party…Rotten Lenoir Pizza…what is an RLP?

RLPs are UNC-Chapel Hill’s Residential Learning Programs. Just as an Oreo cookie perfectly combines vanilla creme and chocolate, an RLP is a balanced mixture of both classroom learning and residence life. Students live with other students who share similar passions as them. It’s a way to make the big pond seem a little smaller.

That sounds awesome! But can I join one? 

Any student can join an RLP! Heads up though, that applications are a first come, first serve basis.

Where do I live?

Each RLP is designated to a specific residence hall on campus. This means that first years coming in could possibly live in a dorm that is restricted from regular incoming students.

But, what is the time commitment like? College is busy, man. 

With most RLPs, you can expect a total commitment of approximately 2-5 hours a week, which includes a 2-hour weekly meeting and a group activity.

Heads up, some RLPs are more involved than others. Some have a required classroom component.

Do I have to pay money to join?

Heck no, RLPs are F R E E!

I think I’ll check it out! But…wait, WAIT. What are the RLPs? Is there one for taco lovers?  

Good question! I’m sorry to tell you that there is not a taco RLP, but I can tell you the 10 RLPs on UNC’s campus, so you can decide which one is the best fit for you!

I shall illustrate this by introducing you to members of the ~coolest~ friend group here at UNC:

The Curious Friend: Carolina Research Scholars  Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.32.16 PM

Students build community based on research experience and are eligible to earn Carolina Research Scholar Program recognition.

DSC_0282Students must complete a couple of research-intensive and research-exposure courses. At the end of the program, you will professionally present your research.

Remember! Research opportunities are NOT just limited to the sciences. There are opportunities in all departments, such as arts & humanities.

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The Friend Who Pulls Off Safety Goggles Really Well: Chancellor’s
Science Scholars 

CSS is about promoting diversity in STEM fields.

Students take a course focused on this and are also are placed into common course sections to make studying together easier.

CSS is a great networking opportunity because it provides tutors as well as assistance finding lab positions. Students also meet once a month with a program coordinator for individualized discussions on topics such as research, classes, or personal concerns.

Take a look at this: Chancellor’s Science Scholars program includes a $10,000 merit scholarship.

Important to note! This RLP is more competitive than some of the other ones. Of the 400-500 students that usually apply, approximately 40 are chosen.

Source: Samantha DeVilbiss, Ed.D., CSS Program Coordinator

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The Friend Who Carries Around a Sketchpad: BlueSky Innovation

What if you had the resources to design anything you wanted?  Have you ever wanted to use a 3D printer? Is creativity your strong suit?

If you answered yes to any of those, then you should be interested in the BlueSky Innovation RLP! This community allows you a massive design space with creation tools; programs, such as BeAM Maker workshops; and an open collaborative workspace to be inspired and make connections with other students.

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The Friend Who’s The New Kid In Town: Transfer United 

TU provides a great space for transfer students to navigate the difficulties of transitioning to UNC. It will help you get plugged in at Carolina, find academic success and meet people going through the same thing!

Note: only Junior transfer students should apply to this.

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The Friend Who Celebrated Pride Weekend: Pride Place

This RLP provides a safe environment for students of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.

Through meetings and community engagement, students will learn about the LGBTQIA community by addressing topics such as intersectionality and biases.

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The Bilingual Friend: Global Scholars House

Bonjour! Hola! Nĭhăo!

Global Scholars House explores languages and cultures from around the world. Global studies and language majors tend to live in this RLP.

Global Scholars now includes the former Spanish House and Chinese House RLPs. Other languages to be explored include Arabic, German and Italian…Kühl!

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The Friend Who Always Volunteers: Service & Leadership 

This is ideal for students who have passion for community outreach.

Students will make friends and refine their leadership skills by  completing at least 15 hours of service per semester,  participating in an 8-week workshop series on leadership, and enrolling in an APPLES service-learning course each Spring.

This is a great way to easily make a broader impact during your four years at Carolina and do some cool service projects!

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The Friend Who Understands The Importance of Self-Care: Balance and Recovery House 

The Balance RLP focuses on wellness and its 8 components. Students join for a variety of reasons: interest in health and wellness, a bad experience with a roommate that uses substances, friends join the program, or the need to be in a space that is substance free. DSC_0279

It is also a great leadership opportunity, as it is completely student-led.

Recovery House is a subset of Balance. It is available for students that identify as in recovery and are seeking a place to live that is supportive and refrains from using substances. Students do not have to disclose that they are in this.

“It warms my heart to see students find not only their home, but a community that helps them to be better, while they are with us on campus and long after they leave Carolina. ” -Megan Van Heiden, Connor Community Director

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The Friend Who Always Recycles: Sustainability 

Students examine sustainability in regards to areas such as the environment, activism, creativity, economy and more!

Sustainability includes weekly discussion-based seminars (ever wanted to talk about Blackfish, Food Inc., …well you’d be in good company). Students participate in and plan community service, social events and fun educational experiences.

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The Friend Who Was Rosie The Riveter Last Halloween: WELL

Women Experiencing Learning & Leadership

This RLP provides a space that ties in appreciation of  gender-expression with community involvement.

Students get to go on two WELL retreats per year!

Commitments include taking one Women’s Studies course a year and attending  a training session every semester.

Living in the WELL community has introduced me to exploring my identity as a woman in relation to the world around me. I have been challenged to become more reflective on how what I do and what I say impacts my peers.” –Annabelle Riley Holman, current UNC student

Phew…you made it! I know it’s a lot to take in, but this group of “friends” is seriously worth checking out.

Finding meaningful friendships, exploring your passion, and staying on top of school work is a lot to take on in college. How awesome is it that UNC has taken a step to help you tackle this by creating supportive environments around campus?

If you ask me, that’s just as sweet sounding as any Oreo cookie. Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.21.41 PM





Why You Should Join Community Government

Joining co-go will not only help you succeed in college, but in the real world too.

We interviewed a member of community government turned college graduate on how his participation in cogo helped him in his job at Oracle in Austin, TX. Meet David Marsh.


UNC Housing: Why did you first join co-go?

David: I wanted to get involved in the place I lived. I had seen what cogo did my freshman year when I lived in Ehringhaus (shoutout ehaus 2012) and knew I wanted to get involved as a sophomore. It seemed like a great way to get more involved and meet more of the people I was living with. I also wanted to be able to have a tangible, positive impact on my classmates which is why I ran for and became the community governor for Parker Community.


UNC Housing: How did cogo help you throughout the rest of your college career?

David: Running for and being community governor helped me expand my leadership skills early on during my time at UNC. It also helped introduce and open me up to many different areas of student life. This exposure helped shaped my run for Student Body President. I got the awesome opportunity to learn about all the different student groups on campus.


UNC Housing: How did cogo help you after college?

Continue reading Why You Should Join Community Government

First Year Experience Halls At A Glance

Dear Baby Heels (a.k.a. Newly Admitted Students):

First of all, let me just extend a great, warm welcome to you by saying CONGRATS ON BECOMING AN OFFICIAL TAR HEEL! This place freaking rocks, honestly, and we can’t wait for y’all to join us here on campus. But before you can join us, you have to sign up for on-campus housing by May 15!

I know what you’re thinking at this point.

“But… But I don’t know where I want to live! What are my options? What’s the difference between all the halls? I am #stressed. Please help me, a wee lamb just trying to make it to Chapel Hill in one piece!”

I was there once, too. We all were. But fear not! We’re here for you.

Below is a list of all the halls available to First Years for the 2017-2018 school year, what they offer, and what current students in those halls love about where they live!

Hinton James
Hinton James, affectionately known as HoJo, is the biggest First Year hall (with 10 whole floors!), making it a very social place. HoJo is coed and has 8-person suites with window AC units. It’s on South Campus and is super close to the Dean Dome.

“My favorite thing about HoJo is the energy and positive vibes. Coming home from Davis and walking into loud upbeat music playing in the lobby puts me in a good mood!” –Elysia Ruiz

“[My favorite thing about living in HoJo is] the view and sitting on the balcony. I also love the lively and diverse community of people.” –Shodeah Kelly 

Continue reading First Year Experience Halls At A Glance

RA Spotlight: Maddie Pontrelli

Everyone knows Resident Advisors are superheros. We like to shine the well-deserved spotlight on them, and the RA of the day is Maddie Pontrelli, a junior RA in Hinton James!

When did you decide to apply to be an RA?

After my first year.


Why did you decide to be an RA?

I wasn’t super close with my first year RA and wanted to be able to be that close RA for other first years.


What is your favorite part of being an RA?

Seeing my residents grow up and find what they’re passionate about both on and off campus.


What is your least favorite part?

Having to have difficult conversations sometimes where I have to draw the line between RA and friend.


What is a day in the life of an RA like?

A day in the life of an RA is fun! I’m a student first, but I get to spend time with residents and get to know what they’re interested in and passionate about. I love that they’re all so different and each and every one of them is capable of teaching me so much. A day in the life also includes me planning and implementing ways for them to get to know each other, me and hojo as a community. Knowing them and they’re interests makes it easier to plan fun events and exciting hang out time that they’ll get something out of.

Continue reading RA Spotlight: Maddie Pontrelli

Why RAs Are Actually Superheroes

Guardian Angels. Life Savers. Free Therapists. Housing Heroes. Resident Advisors.

Contrary to popular belief, a Resident Advisor (see also, “RA”) is not someone who’s out to ruin your life. In fact, anyone who has ever actually lived in a UNC residence hall probably knows that’s the complete opposite of what any RA wants to do. Keeping residents safe and making sure people are following community living standards are definitely important, but that is only part of the job description.

RAs are there to be your friend; they are there to guide you, help you, work with you, laugh with you, look out for you, and occasionally even feed you.

Continue reading Why RAs Are Actually Superheroes

What topics do you want to see on the blog? Comment below and win a Top Lottery Pick!

Comment on this post with a NEW blog topic (one that has not been featured before) and be entered to win a Top Lottery Pick for 2017-2018 Housing Selection! To win, you must be a current student and plan to live on campus Fall 2017. Only one topic submission per person allowed. To be considered for a Top Lottery Pick, you must submit your topic between October 26, 2016 through November 20, 2016 at midnight. One winner will be randomly selected, will be notified between November 21-22, and will select a space on November 28.


The Perfect Trifecta: Carolina Football, Local Restaurants and Awesome Prizes



Imagine it’s Saturday and you’ve just finished all your homework in time for the big football game. All your friends are going. You’re excited to go cheer on the Tar Heels with them… but you’re also starving.

Naturally, you want to treat yo’self to a nice meal after putting in ~werk~ at the lib, but your friends want to get to the game early to get Carolina Housing Claim the Game points, duh. So, as any good friend would do, you suck it up, put on your Carolina blue dress, stick a cute little Tar Heel on your cheek and go to the game.

Just as you’re starting to feel faint from hunger, you smell the most delicious fumes wafting down the bleachers from concessions. You follow the smell and discover a wonderful surprise: UNC’s newest concessions options!

Continue reading The Perfect Trifecta: Carolina Football, Local Restaurants and Awesome Prizes

Crying the Carolina Way

An incomplete list of the times Carolina brings on the waterworks

UNC has made us all cry at some point. And if it hasn’t made you yet, it will. Be it tears of joy, pain, laughter, anxiety, awe, or anything in between, we have all let a tear or two (or hundred) fall for Carolina.

While it’s true I’m a sensitive soul who cries at least once a day for any number of silly reasons, I don’t think you have to have the same emotional muddle of a mind I do in order to experience the many overwhelming feelings that come with being a Tar Heel.

There are just some things that resonate deep within all our Carolina souls and hit us straight in the Tar Feels—and we can’t help but cry.

Continue reading Crying the Carolina Way

The official student blog about life in campus housing at UNC Chapel Hill