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?
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!
Annual music festival adds a new philanthropic twist
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.
Collection of student artwork enlivens campus living spaces
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.
How a UNC summer impacted my friendships and my Carolina experience
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!
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.
What’s it really like in those Living-Learning Communities?
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.
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.
While trying to decide what my next post would be about, I noticed that we had something missing. No one had ever talked about the experience of an out-of-state student. Since all of the bloggers are from North Carolina, I decided to talk to some of my friends who are out-of-state to learn about their experiences. One friend, Nora, a junior from Virginia, has had a great experience in her time at Carolina. She agreed to share her experiences with me, so other out-of-state students may be encouraged to come to school here as well:
M: Why did you choose UNC?
N: I am fourth-generation. My dad, my grandfather and my great grand-father all went to school here. I grew up a Tar Heel, basically came out of the womb waving a “Go Heels” flag. My first four Halloween costumes were a Tar Heel cheerleader uniform. I was ready to go here from the very beginning. Also, it has a FANTASTIC reputation, a great POLI department, wonderful sports programs, so many extracurriculars, amazing people, a great Greek life, a beautiful college town, and basically anything else you could ever want [in] a University.
This question was featured in the lobby of Cobb last week when students checked in to go through the Tunnel of Oppression. Students could post their secrets on notecards, and the chilling words were only the beginning of a very thought-provoking experience. My journey through Tunnel lasted about an hour and a half, but its impact will be seen in my everyday life.
For those who have not experienced Tunnel, it is a series of scenes discussing different types of oppressions. Topics ranged from learning disabilities, religion, sexual assault, human trafficking, homophobia and race. An important aspect of the program is that the stories of oppression were true stories that had happened to actual UNC students. The stories were voluntarily submitted, and in the program, the identities of the victims were kept anonymous. The impact on me was much stronger when I found out that things like sexual abuse, racism, and poverty had happened to my own peers.
Experience a different Chapel Hill during the summer
Summer in Chapel Hill. It’s different than during the school year, but in a good way. Summer school has a more relaxed feel to it than the rest of year. Classes are smaller: for example, I took Poli 100 last summer. This class is usually around a 150-200 person class and there were 16 people in mine. This allowed for more discussion in class and one-on-one time with my professor. Also since you are only taking one or two, you are able to concentrate on each class more.
I stayed in Chapel Hill for Maymester and loved my summer school experience. For those who don’t know, Maymester is a 3-week term, where students take one class that meets for about 3 hours every day.
Living with a high school friend your first year at Carolina
We’ve all heard the story before: High school senior applies to college. High school senior’s best friend applies to same college. Both get in, and they decide to room together. By December, their friendship and sanity are ruined.
But that story didn’t come true for me.
Every year, half of Carolina students have “random” roommates. Many students have a positive experience. I can attest to this—as a sophomore, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the sweet girl I was randomly placed with this year. However, the myth that high school friends can’t be successful roommates is just that: a myth. As a first-year, I lived in Hinton James with Elissa, a girl I have known since elementary school. It turned out to be an excellent decision.