Who’s Got Next? The Best Places to Play Pickup Basketball on Campus

In honor of Late Night with Roy tonight, I’ve decided to share a review of my favorite places to hoop on campus.

Morrison/Hinton James Outdoor Courts-  These two courts can be put in the same category because of their relative similarities, although I think the Morrison court is a slight upgrade because of its location.  While the hoops here aren’t the best- we’re talking plexiglass backboards and double rims- these courts are all about the outdoor basketball experience.  I usually play in one of the gyms on campus, but on a perfect spring or fall day the Hojo and Motwon courts are hard to beat.

Rams Head Recreation Center- This is the flagship UNC pickup basketball venue in my opinion.  Rams has three different courts, all with newly finished floors.  Part of what makes Rams the best place to play is the level of competition.  On any given day you can expect to compete with members of the club and junior varsity teams, as well as stud athletes from the various UNC varsity sports teams.  Occasionally, the varsity basketball team will even make an appearance, although the line to play them grows quickly.  The only downfall about Rams is that it sometimes gets extremely crowded and is difficult to find a game.  Of course, this problem can be solved by winning to hold down the court.

Woollen Gymnasium- Woollen has stood the test of time as a great place to play basketball on campus.  It has been around since the 1930s, when the Heels played their home games there.  My first impression of it was an old middle school gym, just really, really big.  With eight courts available for use, you will rarely have to wait long to get a game.  Woollen tends to draw an older, sometimes less competitive crowd than Rams, but usually still has a high level of play.  The bad thing about Woollen? It can get really hot in there because there is no air conditioning, but hey, it’s part of the atmosphere.

Cobb Courts- The Cobb Courts are made out of the same material as most tennis courts, making for a great outdoor surface to play on.  The basketball hoops are a big upgrade to those at Hinton James and Morrison- they are very close to what indoor gyms use.  Participation at the Cobb Courts is a bit spotty during the spring and fall semesters, but the summer pickup scene is definitely worth checking out.  Be sure to go at night and to benefit from cool temperatures and the excitement of playing under the lights.


Luxury in Morrison Residence Hall

With Fall Break rapidly approaching (it officially begins October 15th) many students will have their first chance to bring additional furniture and accessories to their home on the UNC campus.  To inspire creativity and the motivation to add that extra lava lamp or upgrade your room’s futon situation, I decided to provide a look-in at one of the more well decorated rooms on campus.  Thanks to Erika Lewy and Sophia Oliverio for allowing me to feature your room for this post!

As you can see from the photos, the ladies decided to go with the über space efficient bunk bed format.  There are many floor plans that utilize the limited square footage of the room well, but none more so than bunk beds.  As for the rest of the room, the girls implemented a hybrid of unused family furniture and inexpensive accents to give their space a homey feel.  An old oriental rug and a vanity (taken from Erika and Sophia’s attics, respectively) provide a level of class unparalleled by most french colonial mansions.  To keep things real, an Ikea futon sits opposite the beds, and assorted posters flank the wall behind it.  How did they achieve the swanky ambience, you ask?  Strings of color changing star-shaped lights and classic bulbs adorn the perimeter of the ceiling, for those occasions when the fluorescents just aren’t doing the trick.

So just when you are becoming content with “its just my place at school” as an excuse for why your room hasn’t lived up to it’s potential yet, scan those craigslist feeds, browse a little bit on Amazon, and do yourself a favor by making your room a home.

photo               photo (1)

First Year Friday Recap: Tournament of Champions

As I walked into Rams Head Recreation Center last Friday, I was taken aback at the sheer volume of people on hand for the Tournament of Champions.  While there were eight and twelve teams of three for the volleyball and basketball tournaments, respectively, scores of students that weren’t competing came out to TOC.  Perhaps it was the advertised free Insomnia Cookies, but Rams Head was probably as full as I’ll ever see it on a Friday night.  A live DJ and continuous trivia provided additional entertainment for those who required it, although I was not one of them.  I am still not sure how it is possible that all of the kids in the basketball tournament were freshmen- some of them were huge!  I did not expect to witness some of the teams dunking on consecutive possessions.  Maybe Roy was able to get some new recruits last summer that I didn’t know about.  Stephen Hansen, a junior resident advisor in Hinton James, caught up with me during a break in the competition.

“I’m happy Hinton James’ First Year Friday is the Tournament of Champions,” said Hansen, “I think its definitely one of the cooler events because of all the stuff going on at the same time. This year’s tournament is a bit more exciting for me as well because I’ve placed a few bets with other RA’s on whose residents will win.”

Unfortunately for Stephen, neither the basketball winner “336 Mafia” or the volleyball winner “A Couple of Guys and a Couple of Gals” hails from his floor, however he was still able to score a couple of Insomnia Cookies and a sweet pair of plastic shades.


RA Spotlight: Michael Lewis


 RA SpotlightIMG_7494

Michael Lewis

Hall: Hinton James, 9th Floor

Year: Sophomore

Major: Business Administration and Spanish

Dream job: Sports Announcer

Favorite food: Lo Mein with chicken

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Fun fact: “I participated in the track Junior Olympics in high school.”

What is your favorite thing about being an RA? “Getting to know the residents.  I really enjoy meeting new people, and being an RA gives me the chance to meet people and help new students with their transition to college.  Since I’m an out-of-stater, it’s especially rewarding to be able to help out kids who were in my shoes last year… But I am happy to assist the in-state kids too” (laughs).
How did you decide on Hinton James as your Residence Hall? “I lived in Hojo last year, and I just really liked the vibe.  It seems like there is always something going on here, and I would say it is one of the more fun dorms to be in.  Plus, it’s really close to Kenan-Flager, which is convenient for me.”
What’s the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents? “Actually a few of my residents started having a rap battle when we were all meeting up at the beginning of the year.  Everyone was there, so it was pretty cool.”
What are your favorite things to do on South Campus? “It’s a little bit creepy, but I love people watching.  There are so many different types of people living here- athletes, musicians- you name it, and I enjoy seeing what everyone is heading off to do with their day.  Also, basketball at Rams is a lot of fun.”
What is a good piece of advice for first year students that are setting up their first residence hall room? “Go to the poster sale on Franklin Street.  A poster or two can make your dorm room feel like your room from home without much effort.  The place has so many different things to choose from, and it’s all pretty cheap.  I got a huge MJ mural there for 10 bucks.”
What else are you involved in on campus? “I’m in Delta Sigma Pi, which is a business fraternity.  Joining it was one of the best decisions I made at Carolina.  I’ve made some great friends within the brotherhood, and DSP has definitely helped me connect with a lot of interesting people.  The brothers are also a great resource for when I have questions about one class or another, or want to have a few extra people look over my resume.”
What would you tell someone that is deciding whether or not to apply to be an RA next year? “Definitely be prepared for the time commitment.  The first six weeks are the busiest because your residents are making their transition to campus life.  Apart from that, the benefits are great.  You get a room to yourself, you have the opportunity to be a mentor to other students, and the network of RAs is awesome for everything from doing homework to just hanging out.”
Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

5 Essential College Items

Move-In Day is only one week away, so I’m sure you’ve been working tirelessly all summer to gather the decorations and supplies you’ll need for your new room on campus. Here are a few things you may have forgotten that I recommend that every student living on campus have ready to go for the perfect room.

Damage-free hanging strips and hooks

These are essential for hanging anything on your walls: photos, banners, posters, whatever! You can’t put any holes in your walls in our residence halls, so these guys will ensure that you can cover those boring white concrete blocks with whatever your heart desires.


Shower caddy

If you’re living in a four-room suite, a caddy is essential, because you can’t leave any personal items in the bathroom. They’re a good idea in a two-room suite as well, because four people storing bottles in one shower can get a little crowded. In my first year on campus, I chose one with a separate mini-caddy that I could use for just my toothbrush and toothpaste, so I didn’t have to take the entire thing- shampoo bottles and all- into the bathroom multiple times a day. Forget one of these, and toting bottles back and forth will get old very quickly.

Storage drawers and bins

While your room will come with a desk and a dresser, you might find you don’t have enough storage for things like snacks and school supplies. Extra plastic bins and drawers are great because they are light and easy to move in, plus you can even pack your things in them ahead of time. If you’ll be living in Craige, Ehringhaus or Hinton James, check out this post about your built-in closet dimensions and get storage bins that will fit above your closet!

Extension cords

Because the outlet never seems to be exactly where you’d like it to be, does it? Especially handy if you plan to loft your bed and want to have a clip-on lamp up there for nighttime reading.

PS. Two-pronged extension cords are not allowed in residence halls.


Foam Mattress Pad

Sleep is important for a college student, so get one of these and make those eight hours count!

What do you find essential for living in a college residence hall? Share in the comments! And for an extensive To-Bring list, check out the 2014 Move-In Guide.

Sunburst Mirror: A College DIY

White residence hall walls are one of the biggest problems experienced by first-time dorm decorators. Beat the blah on a budget by making lightweight decorations that can be held up with damage-free hanging strips. Like this cute, Pinterest-inspired sunburst mirror, for example!

Photo via Pinterest.

This one’s easy to make, you’ll just need a few items from a craft store and a few hours to devote to crafting. I used balsa wood (strips cut from two 1/8″ x 4″ x 36″ pieces) for the rays, but you could also use paint sticks from a home improvement store! Read More »

Lofting Beds

As I answer questions for parents and incoming students at First-Year Orientation, I tend to see a lot of trends in what people are curious about. One thing that everyone wants to know is if and how the beds can be lofted. At Carolina we keep things simple: all beds in on-campus residence halls* can be lofted anytime throughout the year, you can do it yourself and you don’t need any tools! Here’s how it works.

*Beds in Granville Towers cannot be lofted.

loft your bedEach resident will have a set of the following pieces waiting in his or her room: Read More »

Healthy, Happy Houseplants: A College DIY

I am a lover of DIY dorm projects. They’re the perfect hobby when you’re a broke college student, yet still want your room to exude a cozy vibe. That being said, there’s one easy peasy project I’ve been seeing all over the internet lately, so I decided to try it out: potted succulents.

Photo via Pinterest

You might think, so potted plants, right? Why succulents? Succulent plants require barely any attention or gardening know-how. Put them in that sunny corner of your room and water them every week or two, and they’ll do fantastically; they live in deserts, after all. Even terra cotta pots are cheap! This is the perfect project for a college student looking to bring a little nature inside.

Read More »

New Student FAQs

UNC Housing has been making an appearance at New Student Orientation and answering a lot of questions. In case you didn’t see us at the info fair, or haven’t attended Orientation yet, we’ll try to answer the questions we’ve heard the most here!

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 7.40.47 PM

If I haven’t been assigned housing yet, will I get a room?

Yes! There are enough rooms on campus to accommodate everyone who has applied for housing. Housing is being assigned in several rounds, so if you have not received your assignment yet, you will during the month of July.

When do I move in?

Your move-in day will depend on your room number: odd-numbered rooms move in on Friday, August 15th, and even-numbered rooms move in on Saturday, August 16th. The time of day that you move in depends on your last name (check the Move-in Guide for those details). Read More »

The First Week!

If you’ve never lived in an on-campus residence hall, you might be struggling to imagine what it will be like to move in, get settled, and explore Chapel Hill. From the experience of a Tar Heel herself, here are a few helpful tips for starting your four-year adventure in the best place on earth.

Move-In Day

  • What to bring: Besides everything that needs to fit into your dorm room? You’ll want a pair of sneakers, a helpful parent or two, and maybe a dolly or hand truck to help get that new refrigerator down the hall.
  • Dress for the weather: Move-In Day is not the day to dress to impress. You’ll spend the day carrying heavy boxes up stairs in the sweltering August heat, so throw on a pair of gym shorts and start bonding with your fellow sweaty first-years! Read More »