Brown, a prospective student from Goldsboro, said she was shocked to see people of so many different races represented.
“As soon as I got here, when I was standing in line to register, I told my mom — I was like, it’s a lot of different ethnicities, and there are all these different people here,” Brown said. “I have several people that I know that go here and they just love it.”
The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs hosted Decision Day on Tuesday for prospective UNC minority students.
Angel Washington, the on-campus coordinator for the Minority Student Recruitment Committee, said Decision Day is just one way that the committee exposes potential students to UNC.
“Decision Day is for students who have been admitted to the University,” Washington said. “We try to get them to come (to UNC).”
Brown said her hometown is small and homogeneous.
“Carolina is way different from my hometown,” Brown said. “I go to, I guess you would say, an all-black high school so there’s not much diversity there.”
Brown said she will be attending UNC in the fall.
“When I first knew about Carolina, I knew it was probably predominately white, but then again, it had people from all around the world ... I’ve been decided before I even got accepted,” she said.
Christopher Faison, coordinator of minority male engagement, said once there is more information about who is coming to UNC and why they are choosing to attend, he will be able to focus on recruitment strategies.
Fewer than 100 incoming students in the class of 2017, out of nearly 4,000, identified as black men.
Increased conversation about race at UNC has followed the debate over renaming Saunders Hall and the polarizing killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., respectively.
To help create a safe place for students to talk about racial issues, the University created the Carolina Conversations series in March.
Junior Merrick Osborne, co-chairman of Diversity and Inclusiveness in Collegiate Environments, said the first event made him want to help raise awareness of racial unrest in the country.
Leaders of student organizations have hoped to use Carolina Conversations to encourage collaboration within and across racial groups.
“I want to continue to engage with these different groups,” Osborne said. “I’d like to see more tangible results going forward.”
Faison said, for now, students and student programs are the best recruitment tools.
“I feel like, to be honest, students kind of lead a lot of attention about issues,” he said. “I think that just speaks to the student activism that UNC has become known for ... Students are savvy at understanding that this issue is not just a UNC issue or a North Carolina issue.”
Faison said he is most excited that colleagues outside of diverse communities have been receptive to working with him.
He said Honors Carolina, University Career Services, the Carolina Center for Public Service and Academic Advising are not specifically diversity-focused programs, but they have helped make UNC a welcoming place.
Faison said to attract black men who are drawn to historically black universities, UNC must be more welcoming in actions instead of words.
“I think the first thing is if people that work here — be it faculty or staff or administrators — if we just really make it a priority and our business to make underrepresented males and black males in particular feel like they belong here, I think that goes a long way ... that’s the case for lots of marginalized groups, as well,” he said.