RA Spotlight: Jennie Lugten



Jennie Lugten

Year: Sophomore

Residence Hall: Hinton James

Major: Psychology

Other Extracurricular Activities: Summit College

What is your favorite thing about being an RA?: I love having the opportunity to provide an environment that is welcoming and for my residents to know that they are loved and appreciated.

What is the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents?: A few of my residents and I went swing dancing at a Cru event one night!

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about becoming an RA next year?: Talk to as many RAs as you can! Write down different programs they have done, bulletin boards, and ways they interact with their residents. It will give you an opportunity to know what has and hasn’t worked and get you thinking ahead for next year!


Halloween in the Halls

October 31st…when else will you see a pack of dancing bananas, groups of Disney characters, and superheroes roaming Chapel Hill? While Halloween on Franklin Street is a long-celebrated tradition, the residence halls hosted plenty of spooky events all weekend long as an alternative option for students looking to have fun on campus. From pumpkin painting to costume contests to haunted houses, and ending with the Food Truck Rodeo on Halloween night, check out the highlights below!

Motown Halloween

Odum Halloween

OCLQ Halloween

Cobb Halloween

Manning East Halloween

Food Truck Rodeo

CoGo 101

The perks of residence life are plentiful—proximity to classes, easy access to campus resources, a sense of community, and…free quesadillas?

You’ve probably been riding the elevator, brushing your teeth in the bathroom, or just hanging out in the study lounge in your residence hall, when you noticed a poster advertising some kind of event. Maybe, you’ve even been walking through the lobby only to find students scooping bowls of ice cream or flipping pancakes. They’re not the RAs—so who is this mysterious group of residents, and what do they do?

Chances are, they’re part of your Community Government—think kind of like Student Government from high school, but within your residence hall community. Still confused? Read on for some frequently asked questions about CoGo!

Parker residents made ice cream sundaes and played speed-friending games at their CoGo's first event of the year.

Parker residents made ice cream sundaes and played speed-friending games at their CoGo’s first event of the year.

What is Community Government?

Community Government is a part of the Residence Hall Association (RHA), which works to create a positive on-campus living experience. Each Community Government (called CoGo for short) is appointed and led by a Community Governor, who was elected in August. Your CoGo usually consists of about 8 to 20 residents, who hold positions like Lieutenant Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, and Marketing Manager. Together, the CoGo team plans fun events for your community and purchases residence hall enhancements.

Ram Village CoGo gets ready to serve Wings and Moe's to their residents.

Ram Village CoGo gets ready to serve Wings and Moe’s to their residents.

Is Community Government Like My RA?

Not quite! Your RA is a paid staff member hired by the Department of Housing and Residential Education (DHRE), and they serve as an administrator and mentor for your hall. CoGo members are volunteers, and any resident can apply. Each Community Government also has its own budget for hosting programs, which is based on the number of residents in their community. While the RAs and CoGo are separate entities, they both share a common goal of making your hall a great place to live!

Olde Campus Upper Quad (OCUQ) CoGo shows their residents how to make stress balls out of balloons at their study break event.

Olde Campus Upper Quad (OCUQ) CoGo shows their residents how to make stress balls out of balloons at their study break event.

What Kind of Events Does Community Government Plan?

CoGo programs may be social or educational, and they can range from weekly recycling drives to formal dances. Popular events include pancake nights, sports viewing parties (watching UNC beat Dook is even more fun with a crowd!), and holiday-themed activities. Many Community Governments hold end-of-year traditional events, large-scale social programs which may involve catered food, inflatables, or musical performances. If you have an idea for an event in your hall, let your Community Governor or a CoGo member know! Their job is to represent you, and they’re always open to suggestions.

Kenan CoGo teaches their residents what can and can't be recycled in the community bins.

Kenan CoGo teaches their residents what can and can’t be recycled in the community bins.

How Can I Learn More/Get Involved?

Avoid that sinking feeling when you realize you missed out on free cinnamon rolls—sign up for Food in my Hall, a free RHA text notification list. You’ll get a message every time your Community Government is having an event! Also, be sure to follow your community on Facebook and Twitter for updates on upcoming programs. If you’re interested in joining CoGo, get in touch with your Community Governor—they may have an open position or an opportunity for you to help out.

Whether you’re interested in taking on a leadership role or just enjoy eating free pizza and meeting new people, attend an event and get to know your CoGo! That group of residents passing out cupcakes in your residence hall’s lobby does more than just hand out free food—they work really hard to make your on-campus experience memorable.

Tar Heel Transportation: Getting Around Campus

You leave your room in Hinton James, head to class in Carroll Hall, eat lunch at Lenoir, circle back to another class in Genome Sciences, work out at the SRC, return to Hinton James, then go to dinner with friends on Franklin…the daily life of a Carolina student involves plenty of rushing around campus. While UNC is pretty walkable, sometimes you need a quicker way to get around. Read on to learn about transportation on campus, plus a few tips on how to make walking more enjoyable!

All of the Chapel Hill transit buses are free for students.

All of the Chapel Hill transit buses are free for students.

Take the Bus

A, D, F, J, S, T…the long list of bus routes can seem like a confusing bowl of alphabet soup. Which one should you get on? Luckily, you’ll only need to know three routes to get anywhere on campus—you’ll be thankful you’ve mastered them when it’s 20 degrees outside or you have to get from Craige to the Hanes Art Center in 20 minutes.

• RU: The RU (Reverse Shuttle) runs counterclockwise, so you’ll usually ride it from South Campus to North. Hop on at the stop next to the sand volleyball courts by Hinton James or outside Ehringhaus and Koury, and you can get off by Fetzer Gym, the Union and Davis Library, or the Old Well.

• U: The U (Campus Shuttle) runs clockwise, but you may ride it toward North or South Campus depending on where you’re trying to go. Popular stops include Horton, the Dean Dome (close to the business school), the Hinton James sand volleyball courts, Student Stores, the ROTC building (across from the FedEx Global Center), Hanes Art Center, and Franklin Street.

• P2P: The P2P runs counterclockwise every night from 7pm to 4am, so you’ll never have to worry about making it back to your residence hall safely. The shuttle stops at Ehringhaus and Koury, Hinton James, and Public Safety (between Morrison/Hardin and Craige/Craige North), and takes you toward Franklin Street and Granville Towers.

You can check out a Tar Heel Bike for free at any of the South Campus high-rise residence halls!

You can check out a Tar Heel Bike for free at any of the South Campus high-rise residence halls!

Pro tip: download the NextBus or EZ Chapel Hill Transit apps. With these handy programs, you can bookmark your most-used bus stops and see how many minutes remain until the next bus arrives. Check out the bus and P2P routes online for the full list of stops!

Ride a Bike

Biking is another quick way to get around campus—plus, you’ll get some great exercise. (They don’t call it Chapel Hill for nothing!) If you bring a bike, you’ll want to purchase a sturdy U-lock and register it for free with the Department of Public Safety to protect against theft.

Don’t have your own wheels? The Residence Hall Association sponsors a program called Tar Heel Bikes, where you can check out a bike from the Hinton James, Craige, Ehringhaus, or Morrison community office for free with your OneCard!

Walking gives you the chance to spend time with friends and enjoy the beautiful sights on campus!

Walking gives you the chance to spend time with friends and enjoy the beautiful sights on campus!


Fall weather is coming! While the trek from South Campus can be miserable in the sweltering heat, crisp mornings and scenic autumn leaves are on the way. In the meantime, hiking around campus all day is an awesome workout, and you can make it more enjoyable by listening to music, setting a goal for the number of steps you take per day using an app or a Fitbit, or walking with friends.

Whether you decide to walk to and from North Campus every day, or you give up on that plan and start taking the bus after the first month (I may or may not speak from personal experience…), there are plenty of ways to get around campus. Don’t hesitate to try them all and figure out which works best for you!

Residence Hall How-To’s: Doing Laundry

You’ve been living in your residence hall for a week or two, and you notice your laundry hamper filling up quickly. Your mom is not around to conveniently wash, dry, fold, and deliver your clothes right to your room, and you only have a few more days before you’ll have to resort to wearing long-sleeved shirts and sweatpants in the middle of August. The time has come—you have to do your first load of laundry. Whether you’ve never done your own laundry before or you’re just unfamiliar with the on-campus machines, save yourself a call home from the laundry room with this how-to guide.


Washing Your Clothes

1. Load your clothes into the washer, taking note of the machine number.

2. Open the black plastic lid on top of the machine, and pour detergent and fabric softener into the labeled compartments.

3. Walk over to the electronic box on the wall and swipe your OneCard (one wash cycle costs $1). Push the machine number, and keep pressing Enter until you see your remaining balance.

4. Return to the machine, and select a fabric setting. I usually choose Bright Colors for my regular load of laundry and Delicates and Knits for nicer, more fragile shirts. Once you press a button, your wash cycle will begin!

Drying Your Clothes

1. Load your clothes into the dryer, taking note of the machine number, and add a dryer sheet.

2. Swipe your OneCard at the electronic box on the wall (one dry cycle costs $0.50). Push the machine number, and choose how many extra dry cycles you want (one extra is recommended, for a total cost of $1). Keep pressing Enter until you see your remaining balance.

3. Return to the machine, and select a fabric setting. I pick Whites and Brights for my regular load of laundry, hanging my more delicate shirts to dry in my room. Once you press a button, your dry cycle will start!

Other Tips and Tricks

1. One wash cycle takes between 35 to 40 minutes to complete, while two dry cycles takes an hour. The laundry rooms can get busy, so take out your clothes on time—or somebody may take them out for you!

2. On the flip side, if you’ve been waiting by a completed washing machine for more than 10 minutes, it’s okay to take the clothes out. Some residents will just place them on top of the machine, but it’s nice to be polite and put them in a dryer.

3. Nothing’s worse than trekking down from the 10th floor of Hinton James only to find that all the laundry machines are full! The OneCard CaroLaundry website shows you which machines are available in each residence hall and allows you to set up email or text notifications when your laundry cycle is done.

Don’t let doing laundry for the first time intimidate you—once you know how the machines work, washing and drying your clothes is a piece of cake!

(Week of) Welcome to UNC!

Week of Welcome—seven days of endless free food, little schoolwork (yay for syllabus week!), and plenty of fun. As a rising junior, I can’t wait! If you’re a first-year, though, the lengthy schedule of social programs, meetings, and information sessions can seem a little overwhelming. Week of Welcome is geared toward new students, giving you lots of opportunities to meet people and get involved—but which should you attend? Read on for the top 10 must-do events!

Thousands of students gather on South Road to sign up for clubs and grab free food at FallFest.

Thousands of students gather on South Road to sign up for clubs and grab free food at FallFest.

1. FallFest: If you only attend one Week of Welcome program, FallFest should be it! Held on South Road and Hooker Fields, this massive nighttime event is your chance to sign up for any clubs and student organizations you may be interested in. Bring a tote or drawstring bag (and your appetite!)—you’ll get tons of swag from on-campus groups and free food from popular area restaurants.

2. New Student Convocation: A Carolina tradition, New Student Convocation gathers the entire first-year class in Carmichael Arena to be welcomed by Chancellor Folt, learn all of the school cheers, and mark your official induction as a Tar Heel.

3. Target Back-to-School Express: Whether you forgot to pack laundry detergent or just want to take a late-night trip off campus, tour buses pull up in front of Hinton James to bring hundreds of first-years to SuperTarget. This isn’t your ordinary back-to-school shopping run—the festivities usually include prize drawings, free samples, games, and a live DJ.

New Student Convocation is a Carolina tradition.

New Student Convocation is a Carolina tradition.

4. Mini Golf in the Library: When else will you get to play mini golf in a library? You’ll be grouped in teams of 5 or 6 to play the nine-hole course, so the event is a fun way to bond with new people over some friendly competition.

5. Summer Reading Discussion: You’re probably thinking, “Why would I want to do schoolwork before classes even start?” While maybe not the most exciting program, the Summer Reading Discussion is a helpful introduction to academic life at UNC. You won’t be graded, so there’s no pressure, and you’ll get to meet around 10 other first-year students that could be future study buddies!

6. Sunset Serenade: If you’ve ever seen Pitch Perfect, you already know that a cappella is popular on college campuses, and UNC is no different! To kick off the school year, all of the major a cappella groups perform a free concert on Polk Place the evening before the first day of classes (FDOC).

Polk Place becomes packed for Sunset Serenade.

Polk Place becomes packed for Sunset Serenade.

7. Community Kick-Off Night: Your Community Kick-Off Night may be a cookout, pizza party, s’mores bonfire—some kind of social event where you’ll get to meet the RAs and other staff in your community. Ask your roommate or suitemates to join you, but talk to other residents as well! You never know, the guy next to you in line for ice cream may be in your ECON 101 class or planning to join the same club sports team.

8. RHA Speed Friending: The Residence Hall Association (RHA) hosts awesome events for on-campus residents, and their first program of the year is aimed at first-years looking to make new friends. You’ll get to decorate your own T-shirt, play in a giant ball pit, and enjoy games and plenty of free food!

Residents make new friends and color T-shirts at RHA's event.

Residents make new friends and color RHA T-shirts.

9. Carolina Fever Kick-Off: When you think of UNC, basketball is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. If you can’t wait to cheer on the Tar Heels, you’ll want to learn about Carolina Fever, the official UNC student fan organization, and the point system. Hint: attending athletic events can earn you cool prizes—and even UNC vs. Duke basketball tickets!

10. Organization-specific events: On-campus organizations love recruiting first-years, and most will be hosting kick-off programs where you’ll meet the leaders and learn how you can get involved. The Daily Tar Heel, Campus Y, club sports, Student Government, and Greek life are just a few of these.

While these 10 events are the perfect start to your Carolina experience, there are many more—check the Week of Welcome schedule in your Tar Heel Beginnings Guide for details, and attend anything that interests you!

Summer Snapshots

For most Tar Heels, summer means three months away from the Southern Part of Heaven. Some students return to their hometowns to work and spend time with family, others travel abroad, and still more take on internships in new cities. However, UNC isn’t completely quiet after finals end in May—during the week, campus is bustling with summer school students, new first-years and families at Orientation, and tour groups. Take a glimpse below to learn why nothing’s finer than summer at Carolina!









Getting Creative in the Dining Halls

As an on-campus resident, you’ll spend a lot of time at Rams Head and Top of Lenoir—where else can you hang out with friends and enjoy an endless supply of cookies? After a few weeks of eating at the dining halls, however, you may find yourself wandering around every time you enter. Not because there aren’t any open tables (although that will happen too), but because there doesn’t seem to be anything you want to eat. With a little creativity, you can beat the dining hall boredom before it starts! Try one of these out-of-the-box ideas the next time you decide to use a meal swipe.

Cookie Sandwich


Ask for a tortilla at the sandwich station, scoop shredded cheese and black beans from the salad bar on one side, fold in half, and grill in the panini maker for a few minutes. On nacho days, look for salsa and sour cream to dip your quesadilla in.

Butter Noodles

Mix butter from the waffle area into a bowl of pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese from the pizza counter. For a healthier twist, drizzle olive oil from the salad bar onto your pasta instead of butter.

Trail Mix

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Take two cookies, scoop soft-serve ice cream onto the underside of one cookie, and top with the other. Bonus points if the cookies are different flavors!


Layer vanilla or strawberry yogurt from the salad bar, your favorite crunchy cereal, and fruit from the waffle area in a bowl or tall glass.


Trail Mix

Shake together different kinds of cereal with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries from the salad bar. Bring your own Ziploc bag to carry your healthy snack to class with you!

Ice Cream Float

Fill a tall glass halfway with soft-serve ice cream and top with your favorite soda from the soft drink machine.

PB&J Wrap

Breakfast Sandwich

Missing Bojangles? Slice open a biscuit or bagel and fill with scrambled eggs, shredded cheese from the salad bar, and bacon or sausage.

Bananas and Chocolate

When the dining hall serves donuts or other special desserts, they often have chocolate sauce! For a (somewhat) healthier treat, slice up a banana and dip the pieces in the melted chocolate.


Fill a tortilla with peanut butter and jelly from the sandwich station or hummus, fresh veggies, and feta cheese from the salad bar. Roll up and enjoy!

Eating at the dining halls doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. Top of Lenoir and Rams Head have plenty of options that you can turn into delicious, well-balanced meals—try one of these tasty ideas or create your own!

Weekends on Campus: What to Do?

The countdown to move-in has begun, and you’re busy shopping for supplies, texting your roommate, and signing up for classes. However, what happens after you’ve settled in? As a first-year student (or even a returning one), weekends are the prime time to explore, meet new people, and really make UNC feel like home. When Friday arrives, stick around and try one of these 5 activities right on campus!

Hundreds of residents attended the RHA Silent Disco.

Hundreds of residents attended the RHA Silent Disco.

1. See a movie at the Union: Going to the movie theater on a regular basis is expensive (even with that handy student discount) and nearly impossible without your own transportation. Luckily, you don’t need cash or a car to see a film with your friends! Almost every Friday and Saturday night, the Union shows movies in the auditorium, free with your OneCard. The best part? Most of the films are new releases that just left theaters—last semester, the selection included Mockingjay, Gone Girl, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar.

2. Attend a Residence Hall Association (RHA) program: RHA provides fun, unique events for on-campus residents, from laser tag to a Silent Disco. (Picture a dance where everybody is listening to music on headphones!) Your residence hall’s Community Government, as part of RHA, will also host occasional weekend programs like cookouts or carnivals. Don’t get stuck eating Easy Mac in your room on a Friday evening—follow RHA and your community on social media to stay informed on upcoming events. Most of them offer some kind of free food!

The student section at football games is usually packed!

The student section at football games is usually packed!

3. Cheer on the Tar Heels at a game: Whether you just wear a UNC T-shirt or paint yourself Carolina blue from head-to-toe, watching the Tar Heels play is always exciting. Most Saturdays in the fall semester are football game days, and in the spring semester, basketball. However, I’ve also seen volleyball, soccer, and field hockey—less popular sporting events are usually still packed with students and often give out free T-shirts! Sign up for the Carolina Fever email listserv to learn which teams are playing each week. Attending games earns you Fever points, which can win you prizes ranging from water bottles to coveted basketball tickets.

4. Check out Campus Rec: Work out, try a group fitness class like cycle or yoga, swim laps at the indoor pool, play pick-up basketball—Campus Rec has something for everyone. My first year, my roommate and I were bored one Sunday afternoon and decided to visit the racquetball courts. We ended up just hitting the ball around more than actually playing by the rules, but it was definitely a fun stress reliever.

Staying in with friends can sometimes be the most fun of all.

Staying in with friends can sometimes be the most fun of all.

5. Hang out in your residence hall: When you’ve had a long week or the weather is bad, your own residence hall offers plenty to do—you can check out cookware, board games, DVDs, and more from the community office. Sometimes, the best memories are made by rounding up a group of friends and spending the evening inside baking cupcakes, laughing over Cards Against Humanity, or having a ping-pong tournament. In fact, one of my favorite moments this year was playing Just Dance on the game room Xbox with my friends on a snowy night.

When Friday comes around, you may be tempted to head home, but staying on campus those first few weekends is vital to making friends and becoming a part of the Carolina community. So, stick around and try one of these fun activities. You’ll soon look forward to spending weekends at UNC—there’s always something to do!

Summer Contest: What are you excited about?


Move-in, for general students, begins in just over a month. Some will have already moved in and started by the beginning of August, too.  There’s a lot to look forward to: moving into a residence hall, seeing your friends again, meeting new people, Franklin street, the old well, football games, even classes (maybe not classes). Carolina offers breathtaking views, unforgettable experiences, and one of the best communities in the country. What are you most excited about?

Leave a comment with your UNC.edu email by Monday 7/13 at 5:00 pm to be entered into a contest to win this Carolina-themed bedspread! It will be a random drawing. Just leave a comment and tell us what you’re looking forward to most when you come to Chapel Hill.