The scoop on Hinton James

What it’s really like living in HJ

Photos of RAs at front desk
The main lobby in HJ is a fun place!

Now that all first-year students have gotten their assignments, the real fun begins. Excitement and anxiety are mounting as move-in day nears. With Hinton James welcoming 852 first-year students (29% of all first-years) into its community this fall, you’re probably wondering, “What’s it really like?”

Surely many of you have heard one thing or another about good ol’ HJ. Perhaps you’ve read about the history of Hinton James and its namesake, or maybe your parents stayed there many years ago. No matter your preconceived notions, I have the inside scoop just for you, as a former HoJo resident myself.

What are the people like?

A 10-floor tower bustling with energy, Hinton James is known most for its wonderful residents. The co-ed residence hall has suite-style rooms with eight students per suite. With so many first-years choosing to live in this residence hall, making friends is a breeze. Hinton James is truly a community; the residents, RAs, and staff are always friendly, which really builds a sense of camaraderie beyond the walls of the building.

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Is that really Craige?

Remodeling project off to a strong start

A gutted old bathroom (left) and a fresh, updated bathroom (right).

by Heather Robertson, 2012-2013 RHA President

As the incoming RHA president, I have had the privilege of attending some renovation meetings as well as watching the progress of the summer remodeling project.  I think the most impressive transformation so far is the Craige bathrooms. Instead of the outdated green tiles original to the building, the bathrooms now have modern off-white and brown tiles. This color scheme is clean and simple.

Bathrooms are also getting decked out with new wooden blinds and a wooden bench opposite the toilet. In addition, the new sinks are mounted higher and have a single-handle faucet. Overall, the bathrooms are going to look brand new compared to the old ones, and I am sure that you are going to love them!

Team High Rise, the fantastic group of UNC staff and contract workers assigned to this project, is doing a great job in these buildings. They are sometimes working into the night and on the weekends to make sure that this project finishes on time and that rooms are ready for move-in in August.

Continue reading Is that really Craige?

Four Years of Roommate Bliss

Tips from experience for roommate success

One of the most exciting parts about going off to college is choosing a roommate. Whether you left the decision to random selection or decided to share a space with your best friend, there is a balance that you must maintain to live in harmony.  Meet Jonathan Sanchez and Frederick Jones—they have lived together for all four years of their college experience.  Check out how they became roommates and their advice for getting along with your own.

Good friends and long-time roommates displaying their fraternity symbols
Good friends and long-time roommates displaying their fraternity symbols.

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Move-In Madness

Tips and Tricks for Maneuvering Your Move-In

by Katie Jansen, guest blogger

Katie Jansen is from Matthews, N.C. She is majoring in English and Journalism, with a Creative Writing minor.

So you’re ready to come to Carolina, to move away from home and to live on campus. Are you having trouble picturing what move-in day will actually be like? Read more to find out!

General Tips

  • Move-in day always occurs on the hottest day of August. I don’t know why; that’s just the way it is. Wear old clothes and be prepared to sweat!
  • Also wear comfortable shoes. Chances are you’re going to be making a lot of trips back and forth.
  • Check the website for directions on where to park. Everyone’s trying to move in at the same time, so you may have to wait in line. Once you get into a parking spot by your residence hall, you will have 40 minutes to unload all your stuff by the curb. Have someone stay with your belongings while you go to check in – then the move-in can begin!

First Things First

  • Go get your keys. This usually occurs either in the lobby of your building, or if you’re in a community with multiple buildings, the lobby of the community seat. There are always lots of colorful signs to tell you where to go, so never fear!
  • Listen to what the RA says. He/she is there to help you, and every RA I’ve had has been really helpful. Ask questions if you’re confused. He/she will be explaining a contract to you that you have to sign before you get your keys. It’s important that you actually read it; you will be charged a hefty fine if you’re ever to lose your keys! (Let’s hope you don’t.)
  • Start meeting people right away. Be friendly! You can start chatting with people as you wait in line for keys, if you like. If you feel nervous, just remember – a lot of these people are probably in the same situation as you are (especially if you’re living on South Campus.)

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Edward Cullen works for Housing?

Inside jokes create a work–play balance

Photo of Larry Hicks
Edward poses for a photo with Larry Hicks, Director of Housing and Residential Education.

Being an RA is hard work, that’s without a doubt. But many of our student staff will agree that the efforts are balanced with lots of good laughs and memories like Connor Community’s Edward Cullen joke.

The tradition began when Connor Community staff learned that their Community Director, Ali Harrison, loves the Twilight series character Edward Cullen—so much so that she happens to have a life-size cutout of him in her office! During the year, Ali’s staff would steal Edward and hide him in random places to scare residents, staff, Ali…anyone who came into the office. Aviv Sheetrit, an RA in Connor this year, says that, one time, Edward was even flipped upside down and suspended from the ceiling! Over time, Edward just became part of the team.

So, in May, when it was time for the Year-End Awards Ceremony—an annual event where Housing student staff members are recognized for their leadership in developing residential communities—the staff felt Edward should be part of the celebration, too. When Ali’s staff stepped up to the podium to recognize her hard work this year, guess who else tagged along for delivery of the speech?

Inside the Sustainability Living-Learning Community

Living green at Carolina

Sustainability residents at Hope Gardens.

The Sustainability Living-Learning Community in Morrison is one of Carolina’s best-known Living-Learning Communities. To glimpse inside, we interviewed two Sustainability residents: first-year English & history major Andrew Soboeiro from Pinehurst and first-year geography & global studies major Ellen Currin from Raleigh. Here’s what they have to say about sustainability living at UNC!



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Connorstock 2012

Annual music festival adds a new philanthropic twist

Some students played volleyball, while others sat with friends during the music festival.

Connorstock has been a residence life community government (RHA) tradition for at least four years. Towards the end of the school year, many Carolina students gather on the Connor Community lawn for a day of music, dancing, food and fun.

The entertainment lineup consisted of several a cappella groups including the UNC Achordants, the Walk Ons and the Tarpeggios. Two singer/songwriters, Catie King and Myriad Sunrise, also played. Other group performances included a dance from Kamikazi and songs played by the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble.

Food at the event included ice cream, funnel cakes and fried Oreos.

And new for this year was an opportunity for community service: students could register to be part of the Bone Marrow Registry.

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Student Artist Showcase

Collection of student artwork enlivens campus living spaces

photo of Aleise
Aleise’s photographic art will be installed in Craige and Ehringhaus halls.

Aleise Preslar was browsing the Housing website one day looking for part-time job openings, when she stumbled upon the call for entries to the 5th Annual Student Art Exhibit and decided to submit her work.

Now, her work will be on display for many years to come, in the public spaces of Craige and Ehringhaus residence halls.

The jurors for the exhibit selected nine of Aleise’s pieces of digital photographic art to be added to Housing’s permanent student art collection.

Aleise said she was motivated to submit her work because the show provided a chance to display her work publicly for the first time. She also wanted to contribute to the art collections in the residence halls.

As for finding subjects for her artwork, Aleise says she observes things in her surroundings that are interesting. She makes the subject her own by emphasizing and subduing the dimensions of color and contrast.

Aleise mostly taught herself what she knows about photography and digital art, and she is registered for JOMC 180 next semester to learn more about photojournalism.

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The Summer School Connection

How a UNC summer impacted my friendships and my Carolina experience

Photo of Simone and friends
In summer school, I felt like I had plenty of time to relax with my friends.

How are you spending your summer this year? I bet summer school is the last thing on your mind. It was certainly the last thing on my mind after my freshman year, but I decided to take the advice of my peers and see what a summer at Carolina was all about.

After my first year at Carolina was wrapping up, the campus was buzzing with excitement for summer school. It never occurred to me that summer sessions could be fun, so I decided to give it a try. I signed up for both sessions and braced myself for the summer ahead!

Finding friends

I was only acquainted with my summer roommate prior to moving in, but over the course of the summer, we became extremely tight. I also met some great people along the way who I now consider to be some of my closest friends.

For both summer sessions, I lived in summer school housing in Aycock in Lower Quad. Those dorms are hall-style, so you share a bathroom with your entire hall—you’d be surprised how many people you meet while brushing your teeth! When everyone lives in the same area, it’s fairly simple to join in on a volleyball game or meet people who you pass by every day in the hall.

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My time in W.E.L.L.

What’s it really like in those Living-Learning Communities?

Our photo entry for the #besthallever contest. One of our members couldn't be there because of family issues, but we wanted to include her in our photo (hence the drawing on the blue paper).

When I first applied to live in W.E.L.L (Women Experiencing Learning and Leadership), I was very nervous and not sure what to expect. I was going from my close-knit suite to what I thought would a big, anti-social hall where I wouldn’t really get to know anyone. Oh, how that turned out to be so, so false. My hall basically became a suite of 30 instead of 8.

My community

On move-in day, everyone was friendly and eager to meet each other. Some people had known each other from the previous year, and others were just arriving to campus. I realized right away that we were a very diverse group of women with different backgrounds and interests, but I knew that would make my experience much more enriching.

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The official student blog about life in campus housing at UNC Chapel Hill