Norledia Moody was a little worried when she left her small, rural hometown and her predominantly black high school for UNC two years ago that she would feel like a minority for the first time.
But Moody, a junior journalism major, said that it was an easy transition and that she never has felt out of place at UNC.
Now Moody helps other incoming minorities make the same transition by co-chairing the Minority Student Recruitment Committee, an organization sponsored by the Office of Minority Affairs that recruits minority students.
"Someone helped me decide Carolina was for me, so I wanted to give back and help someone else decide that Carolina was for them," she said.
Experiences like these prompted Black Enterprise magazine to name UNC the 15th best college or university in the nation for black students. UNC consistently has ranked in the top 15 in the survey, which evaluates schools not only on academics and financial aid but also on aspects like campus climate and the number of black faculty members.
Students and faculty members cited recruitment and orientation programs, as well as active campus organizations, as reasons for UNC's consistently high ranking.
Terri Houston, director of recruitment for the Office of Minority Affairs, said it is part of UNC's mission as a public university to serve the people of North Carolina. Recruitment officers encourage students to apply and help them with the application process, financial aid and transition.
Once students arrive on campus, they are greeted by organizations like the Black Student Movement, the NAACP and the Carolina Association of Black Journalists, which help black students find their niches, both socially and professionally.
Jabari Douglas, who also volunteers on the MSRC, said he was surprised at the size of BSM when he arrived on campus. "They have everything from political action groups to the gospel choir," he said.
Jordan Campbell, a junior who used to head student government's Minority Affairs Committee, said other students are the key to helping minority students flourish at UNC.
Campbell said his minority mentor, who was assigned to him for one year, helped him make the transition. "She still checks on me to make sure everything is going well," he said.
Douglas said that while UNC does have a strong minority community, there is some need to continue working to make minorities a part of the whole community.
Campbell also said that minority students sometimes feel that they do not have as strong a voice on campus but that there are efforts being made on both sides to break down that barrier.
But Moody said she thinks that while there is a strong community of black students within the UNC community, there is a stronger sense of Tar Heel pride and unity. "We all know that we are a part of that community."
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