The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 3rd

Allow me to give my very own State of the University address

Today, Chancellor Moeser will give his remarks concerning the state of the University. To mark the occasion, in place of my regular column, I would like to present a few observations of my own on the turnover of a new academic year:

-Pepsi now controls the vast share of soft drink sales on our campus, but Student Stores still sells glass bottles of Coke - and for some reason, they still taste better than any other cola product.

-We've lost professors to other schools, and many will be missed. But far more than we will miss them, we will notice the absence of those who would never leave by choice - professors, teachers and mentors taken from this campus by sickness, old age or death.

-Even when you know the football team is bound to lose, it's hard not to believe that it will somehow find a way to win whenever the sun is shining on game day.

-Just once, stop and ask yourself, "Do I know the person for whom Student Stores is named - and if so, do I know why he would merit having a building named after him?"

-It is still impossible to find a parking space at 7:30 p.m. on a Tuesday.

-I am convinced that somewhere in the depths of South Building there is a blackboard with this written on it: An Equation to Evaluate Excellence - [(the sum of our endowment) x (the number of men's basketball team wins) - (the number of football team losses) + (our average class size)] / the difference in tuition between our school and the average of our peers.

-In these difficult times, it is good to know that there are a few things that tie us all together: an unpretentious, unvarnished hatred of Duke, the uncomplicated joy that pulses through campus the first time it really snows and the inevitability that, at least once each year, we will read the police log and come across a name we know.

-You can no longer buy cigarettes on campus, but there seem to be just as many smokers this year as in years before. More so, really.

-Carolina is small enough that you cannot walk through the Pit without finding a friend to talk to. But it's big enough that you can't spend a week in any major city in the United States without bumping into some kid you knew from your freshman-year psychology class.

-We've reopened the main building of the Student Union, and there are few students who have not felt its benefits. If nothing else, it doubles the amount of space where kids can fall asleep on campus.

-There is not a person in the world who will try to stop you from skipping class to pack the quad on the first real day of spring. That rule is as permanent and immutable as the one about staring out the window when that first snow does come along.

-The best cheap meal in Chapel Hill is a pulled-pork sandwich from The Barbecue Joint. The best meal in Carrboro is a chicken burrito from Carrburritos. I didn't fall in love with either place until my junior year.

-Before this time next year, the Ramshead facility will open its doors - and surely, that will be a good thing. There are some who say that among its many benefits will be the feeling that the walk from South to North Campus does not seem as long. But I just don't believe it.

-Despite all the usage to the contrary, the proper name for the building that houses the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence is Graham Memorial. To call it anything else is to forget Edward Kidder Graham's place on this campus, and that would be a shame.

-This summer, the Board of Trustees decided to renovate the Campus Y, and it is a comfort to know that students will keep a little space in the formal living room of the University to call our own.

-When was the last time we repainted the Old Well?

-As I have progressed from freshman to senior, I've noticed that there are fewer people who seem to stay up all night simply for the benefit of a good conversation. Enjoy the privilege of those debates while you are still young enough to have them.

-And if you are a first-year-student, then you are about a week away from the quiet realization that this campus - from the Old Well to the Bell Tower and all points around or in between - belongs to you. Once you come to that conclusion, it will be hard for you to ever leave this place again. Congratulations, you are now a Tar Heel. Welcome home.

That is all. Thank you, and may God bless the University.

Contact Matt Compton at

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