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

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