All posts by Jillian Vicario

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! Continue reading Sunburst Mirror: A College DIY

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: Continue reading Lofting Beds

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.

Continue reading Healthy, Happy Houseplants: A College DIY

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). Continue reading New Student FAQs

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! Continue reading The First Week!

Get Involved With Alpha Phi Omega!


What is it?

Alpha Phi Omega is UNC’s only co-ed fraternity with a dedication to community service. The organization’s three principles are leadership, friendship and service. UNC’s Rho chapter engages in service on campus and in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community, as well as holding social events for brothers. APO works with Carolina Tiger Rescue, Adopt a Highway, the Human Rights Center, UNC Hospitals, Arc of Orange County, A Helping Hand, Battle ParkCharles’ House, TABLE, and other community organizations, as well as campus organizations such as Dance Marathon, Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life. The chapter also runs the UNC Lost and Found; they sell items that haven’t been claimed for a year and vote on the charities that receive the funds raised. The brothers hang out a lot too; they attend UNC baseball games together, play capture the flag in Coker Arboretum and paint pumpkins on the quad.

APO2How can first-years get involved?

Rush APO! The rush process at the beginning of the semester involves two weeks of attending as many service events and brotherhood socials as possible. It’s blind rush, which means new brothers are chosen solely based on how many events they attend during rush. Brothers can become leaders through APO by becoming one of the two presidents, three vice presidents or dozen officer positions, such as Intramural Chair or Historian. There is also a service committee, a membership committee, and a fellowship committee that any brother can join.

Although called a fraternity, APO is co-ed and any UNC student can rush. You can also be in a Greek fraternity or sorority and still join APO- membership isn’t exclusive!

How do I learn more?

You can check out the Rho chapter’s website, like them on Facebook, or contact either of the presidents at


Making Roomie Life A Bit Easier

Sharing about 200 square feet of space with someone day and night for an entire school year. It seems a daunting task, but some people, it seems, were born to live with a roommate. For the rest of us, it takes some getting used to. Start off on the right foot by recognizing these common causes of roomie spats ahead of time and avoiding them.

The unfortunate results of pent-up frustration: light saber battles.
The unfortunate result of pent-up roomie frustration: lightsaber battles.

The Ever-Present Sharing Question

Let me set the scene: you come home to your cozy room after a difficult test or several hours in the library, and all you can think about is the comforting, delicious chocolate bar you picked up from the Pit Stop yesterday, waiting for you on your shelf. But when you arrive, nothing is left but a few measly crumbs and that little bit of melted goodness stuck to the wrapper. We have arrived at the sharing question, and it doesn’t just apply to food. So what’s up for grabs when your roommate wants to use your stuff? Continue reading Making Roomie Life A Bit Easier

Get Involved with UNC Habitat!


What is it?

UNC Habitat is a campus organization that partners with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County to provide affordable housing to low-income families. The houses are built by supervised volunteers and paid for with a nonprofit mortgage. Habitat for Humanity of Orange County has helped almost 200 families in 25 years.

UNC Habitat sends members to sites every Friday and Saturday. Volunteers don’t need any experience building or tools, just a pair of sneakers, work clothes, and a positive attitude! Continue reading Get Involved with UNC Habitat!