The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

Carolina Creates, an offshoot of Innovate@Carolina sketches ambitious aims

With a broad vision and a even broader heft, a permanent version of the Chancellor’s Student Innovation Team was officially launched Monday, angling to foster a more creative and innovative campus.

And while completion of the group’s goals — which include a TEDx conference, spontaneous music performances in public spaces and a student literary competition, among other initiatives — is telescoped out for years to come, group leaders are optimistic about their chances of success.

“Now’s the time for us to take action,” committee chairman Hudson Vincent, a junior, told a large gathering of students involved with the project. “We can do great things on campus right now.”

The group, dubbed Carolina Creates, is an offshoot of Chancellor Holden Thorp’s extensive Innovate@Carolina fundraising campaign. It builds upon the efforts of other arts policy initiatives, including former student body president Hogan Medlin’s Arts Innovation Steering Committee.

Members of that committee, which largely failed to capitalize on its policy projects due to fund raising difficulties, have been intimately involved in Carolina Creates.

The group’s vice chairman is senior Ian Lee, who was student body secretary in the Medlin administration. Lee is also a current member of The Daily Tar Heel’s editorial board.

The new group appears to take a expanded definition of creativity. Sub-committees have already worked to sponsor student musician performances in the Pit and other public spaces, and others are in talks to help display student visual art in campus buildings.

“We’re trying to get student music out of Hill Hall and into the Pit or the Daily Grind or Graham Memorial,” Lee said.

Monday’s meeting also marked the first public presentation of a planned campus TEDx Conference.

The conference, an official affiliate of the international non-profit organization TED, will bring a roster of speakers to the University in January. The conference will focus on the theme of Global Initiatives, but the lineup is still largely tentative.

Junior Rachel Myrick, who is spearheading the TEDx effort, would only confirm that current entrepreneur in residence Dennis Whittle will give a talk at the event.

Whittle is a UNC alumnus and the co-founder of social fund raising organization GlobalGiving.

“We’re aiming to make this an annual event,” Myrick said.

Members admitted that the group’s association with one of the chancellor’s biggest policy pushes has helped it overcome administrative and financial hurdles, but Vincent stressed the role of the average student in the group’s ultimate plan.

“This is all about what students as students can do to make our university better,” he said.

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