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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!

Walk

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!

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

Quesadilla

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!

Parfait

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.

breakfast

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.

Wraps

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!

To Bring or Not To Bring

The aisles of Target are stacked high with plastic storage bins and laundry baskets. Your mom drags you to Bed Bath & Beyond for the third time with a checklist longer than the walk from Hinton James to Franklin Street. Yep…college shopping season has arrived.

Getting everything you need before move-in day can be overwhelming. You have the basics (twin XL sheets, microfridge, alarm clock), but some things you don’t realize you need until you arrive on campus. When you’re loading up your parents’ minivan, make sure you have these 10 often overlooked items!

1. Umbrella: Chapel Hill, North Carolina—where the weather can switch from 10% chance of rain to 100% chance of thunderstorms in the time it takes you to walk to the bus stop right outside your residence hall (I speak from personal experience). Sitting in a cramped lecture hall soaking wet is no fun, so keep a small, portable umbrella in your backpack.

2. Lysol wipes: When one person on your floor gets sick, EVERYONE on your floor gets sick. Fight the inevitable campus-wide cold by wiping your doorknobs, desk, and other germ-ridden surfaces with Lysol wipes. You’ll also need them if you’re living in a residence hall where you have to clean your own bathroom (Koury, Horton, Craige North, and Hardin).

Professional Clothes

3. Professional clothes: Athletic shorts and T-shirts may as well be the UNC student uniform, but you’ll have to get dressed up more often than you’d think. Pack a business suit and a few business casual outfits for career fairs, on-campus job interviews, student organization meetings, etc.

4. Shower shoes: When you’re sharing a bathroom with 7 (or more) other people, you’re going to want something between your feet and the floor. Stop by Old Navy and pick up a few pairs of $2 flip-flops!

5. School supplies: College is still school, after all! Unlike in high school, though, your professors won’t care what you use to stay organized. I keep it simple with an accordion file for papers, a five-subject notebook (one section for each class), pens, and pencils.

Dinnerware

6. Dinnerware: Bring a plate, bowl, mug, spoon, and fork for those days when you’re not feeling Rams Head for dinner or you want to heat up some leftovers. Also, most residence hall programs are “bring your own bowl/mug/etc.”, so don’t get stuck using a paper towel as a plate for your pancakes!

7. Desk fan: I can’t sleep without my desk fan—the white noise drowns out loud floormates and slamming doors, or conversely, keeps the room from being too quiet. Not to mention, you’ll want a way to cool off after walking back from class in the 90-degree late summer heat.

8. Reusable water bottle: Don’t forget to stay hydrated! I fill up my water bottle every morning at Top of Lenoir, and most residence halls (and the Union) have water fountains with bottle attachments.

Surge Protector

9. Small duffel bag: Club sports, student organizations, church groups, and other things you may decide to join sometimes travel. Whether you’re going on an overnight trip or just heading home for the weekend, you’ll need something to pack your stuff in.

10. Power strip/surge protector: The number of wall outlets is limited, especially when you’re sharing the space with a roommate. I use a power strip (with a flat plug so it fits behind my desk) to plug in my phone, laptop, lamp, desk fan, and other electronic devices.

As you’re checking items off that mile-long college list, make sure to pick up these lesser-known essentials—you’ll be glad you have them once you move into your residence hall. Happy shopping!

5 Springtime Musts in Chapel Hill

Spring is finally here, which means Chapel Hill will rival rival any place in the country for the title of “most beautiful weather.”  Be sure to take advantage of our priceless gem before you freeze in New York or Chicago during your years as alumni.   Here is a list of five great activities to do during a beautiful spring day in Chapel Hill.

1) Go to a Baseball Game at Boshamer Stadium

Take in a baseball game at one of the best college parks in the country.  The Heels are a perennial powerhouse in the ACC, hotdogs are only a dollar on weekdays, and t-shirt give-a-ways are the standard.

2) Spend an Afternoon in the Arboretum

Bring lunch, a book, or just nothing at all and enjoy the beautiful gardens of Coker Arboretum.

3) Take a Nap in McCorkle or Polk Place

Attach a hammock or lay in the grass on a warm afternoon after class.

4) Play Soccer or Ultimate at Hooker Field

Recruit a group of friends and have fun with friendly competition while you exercise on the turf.

5) Bike to Weaver Street Market

Technically in Carrboro, only a few short miles separate you from Weaver Street Market where a great variety of food awaits.

Top 10 Things You Should NEVER Run Out of in Your Room

1) Silverware/Plasticware

Ever tried to eat soup with your hands?… Must I say anything more?

2) Paper Towels

A napkin, a mop, and a tissue all wrapped into one.

3) Laundry Detergent

The trip to the drug store to get more will seem a lot longer when you are out of clean underwear

4) Batteries

Are you really about to let your lack of battery supply get in between you and prestige-ing in Call of Duty?

5) Crystal Light/Gatorade Powder

Water for every meal gets old- pack some flavor in a small space with your preferred drink powder.

6) Scantrons/Blue Books

You might think you have time to run to student stores before every exam… until the morning you sleep 10 minutes past your alarm and have to run to Hanes Art Center.

7) Ramen/Easy Mac

It doesn’t necessarily need to be Ramen or Easy Mac, but emergency food is a must for when the stomach rumbles roll in.

8) Poptarts

Poptarts or granola bars are great to have for when you don’t have time for breakfast but need some fuel to start your day or help you focus on a test.

9) Pens/Pencils

For everyday use of course, and also for the same reason as the scantrons and blue books.  You think you have time to buy more before an exam, until you don’t have any time.

10) Cash

Yes, we would all love to never run out of cash.  But what I really mean to say is make sure you have at least a little bit of your money in physical cash.  Small bills are handy for splitting a pizza with your roommate, going to a vending machine, or paying for a benefit dinner on campus.

5 Foods You Should Start Making in Your Residence Hall

1) Oatmeal

Before you dismiss this list completely, hear me out.  I was a non-believer at one time, but microwavable oatmeal has changed my life.  It comes in exactly the flavors you’d want microwavable oatmeal to come in- apple cinnamon, maple and brown sugar, cinnamon and spice…it’s delicious!  As someone who can never bring himself to get up in time for breakfast, instant oatmeal really changes the game.

2) Quesadillas

Stock up on tortillas and shredded cheese and you’ll have a quality snack that even the most novice of cooks can execute to perfection.  Check out a skillet and use your hall’s stovetop to make a perfect quesadilla.  Or, for the lazy, a cheese quesadilla can be made right in the room with a microwave.  The cheese and tortillas will barely take up any space in your fridge.

3) Pasta

The simplicity continues as I urge you to explore the wonders of bowties and Prego    in your room.  Of course you’ll need a pot to boil the pasta, but fridge space      will be spared since only the sauce needs to be refrigerated.

 

I listed these first two items back-to-back for a reason.  Throw some of the shredded cheese on the pasta to kick things up a notch, or put pasta sauce and cheese on top of a tortilla to make a personal pizza.

4) Smoothies

Take advantage of the ice machine in your hall and blend ice and any combination of fruit and yogurt for a healthy, refreshing drink.  You can use the fruit that you accidentally walk out of the dining hall with *wink wink* to make the smoothies.

5) Anything in a crockpot

You might not have known this, but crockpots are in fact fair game to have in a residence hall room.  If that was a surprise, check out this link to find out what you are permitted and not permitted to have in your room.  Anyway, from chili to chicken to stew, if you are feeling adventurous, google a good crockpot recipe and let the crockpot take care of the rest.

Residence Hall Room Layout Tips

Many of you have requested advice for how to make the most of your room.  I have written posts like this in the past, but since the topic is in such high demand, here goes another room design issue that should help make your room feel like home.

I’m sure you all have a variety of distinguished decorative tastes, so I will focus primarily on room layouts and organization that might improve your current situation.  That being said, there are a variety of different routes you can go, so here are the best layouts I have seen during my time at Carolina.

1) Two lofted beds with desks underneath

This is probably the most traditional method. It is the flagship room layout in my opinion, and for good reason.  For students that like to study in their room, I think this layout makes the most sense.

2) Bunk beds

Bring yourself back to third grade with this camp-style layout.  I would suggest putting the desks together on the opposite side of the room to make a mega table.  For the buddy-buddy roommates that are also best friends, bunk beds will go a long way for you.

3) Lofted bed with a futon underneath, other bed on the adjacent wall

This layout works well for South Campus dorms that have permanent, immobile desks.  A television can be placed on the shelves above the desk opposite the futon, and you are set for movie nights to come.

Other layouts I have seen are mattresses on the ground with no bed frame- interesting to say the least, and two beds set up at a traditional height.  To each his own, but I think at least one lofted bed must be in place in order to best utilize the room.

Here is my all-time favorite room layout, courtesy of Alex Jeffs and Matthew Gurkin (2013-2014 Craige residents).

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 12.37.43 PM

 

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.

Top 10 First-Year Flings

A bucket list for your first year at Carolina

Students at an icecream social in Upper Quad community.
Upper Quad residents enjoy ice cream at a community program.

Everyone has their own Carolina experience. Of course it will involve studying and going to class, along with going to the dining hall and sharing a shower with your suitemates. Some get really involved in the Campus Y, some join sororities/fraternities, some volunteer, some become community governors and some play every intramural sport out there – even inner tube water polo.

But there are some things that would be a shame to miss in your first year being a Tar Heel.

Continue reading Top 10 First-Year Flings