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UNC’s Build-a-Block wins $20,000 in ‘Battle’ against NC State, Duke

Funding will help construction costs

Although the basketball team did not win the NCAA tournament, fans still supported the team — by buying coffee.

UNC beat Duke and N.C. State in the Battle for Bean Street by buying the most Kangaroo Express Bean Street Coffee cups. The competition began at the start of the basketball season in mid-November and ended April 1.

The University’s win will benefit student-led organization Build-a-Block, which received $20,000. Build-a-Block was chosen as the charity for the University by the UNC athletic department, which has “champion” donor status for contributing more than $35,000 to the organization.

Leah Vance, co-director of Build-a-Block, said the money will go toward constructions costs, land costs and materials for building houses.

The group’s goal is to build 10 houses in one year, which would cost $350,000.

“Last semester we started five houses and we’re finishing up on those,” Vance said. “We’ve started the next five houses. They will be done this summer. We will dedicate the houses at the beginning of next year.”

Vance said the University had a steady lead throughout the competition, and the NCAA tournament only helped.

“We were pretty neck-and-neck with N.C. State for a long time,” Vance said. “It helped when we got to the Elite Eight.”

For every cup purchased, the respective university gained a point. UNC came in first place with 49,402 points, with N.C. State finishing second with 45,921 and Duke third with 28,050.

Lauren Blanchet, co-director of Build-a-Block, said the push to participate was a collaborative effort, with the athletic department and Kangaroo providing support.

“We couldn’t have done it by ourselves, just the Habitat people,” Blanchet said.

The Battle for Bean Street was part of an effort to promote a sense of community in the Triangle area, as well as the Fresh Initiative for The Pantry Inc.’s Kangaroo Express stores, said Sarah Haas, account coordinator at Largemouth Communications.

The Fresh Initiative began with the relaunch of Bean Street Coffee in June 2010. Haas said the initiative includes renovating displays and making store atmospheres clean and welcoming.

The competition strove to promote friendly rivalry and to increase coffee sales, said Jennifer Eaton, assistant brand manager at The Pantry, which owns Kangaroo Express stores.

As a native of the area, Eaton said she understands the rivalry among Duke, N.C. State and UNC.

“The overall fan base that UNC has in the area definitely helped drive sales in our stores,” Eaton said.

She said the stores saw a huge increase in the number and size of cups sold. The competition cups were size large.

Eaton said she was impressed with the effort that Build-a-Block put toward the competition.

“The amount of time they put in was phenomenal,” Eaton said.

“It’s truly deserving for them.”

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