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The Daily Tar Heel

Mr. and Ms. UNC 2011 service projects left un?nished

Last year’s Mr. and Ms. UNC didn’t keep their campaign promises.

After miscommunication among the winners and the groups they promised to help, the $500 meant to go toward the service projects was never awarded.

Both winners ultimately completed service projects — but different ones than described in their campaigns.

Johnathan Flynn, 2011 Homecoming chairman, said last year’s projects weren’t funded because they ended up not being feasible — the winners didn’t work out the projects’ details ahead of time with the groups they said they would help.

The winners, Clint Hannah and Holly Roberts, confirmed that this was the case.

“So,” Flynn said, “This year we changed.”

Keyes said the committee has added a project start date, Jan. 14, and a completion date, March 18.

Additionally, candidates had to provide a signature from a member of the benefitting organization in their application, he said.

“I will be calling each candidate’s organization contact to make sure their proposed project is legitimate, reasonable and beneficial,” Keyes said.

“If for whatever reason the projects are not started, CAA will not fund the candidate.”

Hannah, the 2011 Mr. UNC, originally campaigned to start a bimonthly clothing drive for Club Nova, he said.

The organization, which is in Carrboro, helps rehabilitate and reintegrate the mentally disabled into the community.

Though Hannah had been in communication with members of Club Nova before the election, he hadn’t sat down with them in person and stamped out the details.

Hannah said when it was time for the project to begin, Club Nova members said they didn’t need more clothes.

“Working with what Club Nova wanted, we turned the events into health (and) wellness lessons and playing games with some of their club members,” Hannah said.

The lessons were conducted once a month in the spring and helped people learn how to live a healthier lifestyle.

“My project shifted a lot from my initial vision, but I think it ended up being pretty awesome,” Hannah said.

“It meant a lot to us because I think we got to meet some really interesting people, hear their story and see that mental illness isn’t some stigma that defines people.

Hannah said he doesn’t remember being told he would receive $500 for the project.

But Flynn said the award was clearly stated in the application and in the interest meeting.

Roberts, the 2011 Ms. UNC, said she was aware of the $500 but never received the money because after talking with the organizations she intended to work with, she realized her project wouldn’t work.

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Roberts proposed a project called Tar Heels for the Troops to support members of the armed services and their families.

“I think I was overly ambitious in what I wanted to do with my project,” Roberts said. “And once I realized that I needed to size it down, I kind of realized that I didn’t really need the $500.”

Her original project idea involved purchasing packages and letters in the Pit to send to soldiers overseas, sending military families to UNC basketball games free of charge and hosting a military appreciation dinner.

But after the plans didn’t work out with the involved organizations, she still worked to make her new project as close to the proposed vision as possible.

Roberts started Tar Heels for the Troops, which ended up partnering with the 2012 Senior Marshals for a letter-writing campaign and spearheaded participation in a Hope for the Warriors’ half marathon, she said.

Roberts said the letter-writing campaign produced about 50 letters for enlisted marines and their families, and the whole half-marathon raised $83,019.

“What makes my project so special is there isn’t a set completion date,” she said.

“Even though I will be passing on the title to another Tar Heel in November, I plan on continuing to reach out to causes that support the armed forces and show that the Carolina community appreciates and supports their sacrifices to keep our country safe,” Roberts said.

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