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UNC students create First Fridays to fight homelessness

UNC students Oliana Luke, Sami Lachgar and Griffin Unger, are the brains behind the event, which aims to raise money for the homeless and be a unique activity for Chapel Hill residents.

“Essentially, we will close a section of Franklin Street on the first Friday of every month to hold a food and music festival showcasing local artists and vendors,” Luke said.

First Fridays would attempt to provide a positive environment for the interaction of college students, families, the elderly and people from different races and ethnicities to celebrate the diversity of the town.

“The event will be designed to bring together different factions of the Chapel Hill community that wouldn’t necessarily interact,” Luke said.

The goal is to create a space where people can come together for a fun, safe activity that promotes local business and music, while also fighting the town’s homelessness problem.

Designed as a nonprofit, 10 percent of the profits would be used to cover setup costs while the rest of the money would be donated to organizations that help combat homelessness.

“Our idea is that while many have the luxury of eating for pleasure, some don’t have enough food for day-to-day needs,” Luke said. “We want to have an event that shows the entire community that Chapel Hill isn’t just one group of the same people.”

As a student-led event, it would rely on contributions from the town of Chapel Hill and the input of community leaders. Chapel Hill town council candidate Michael Parker said he thinks this is a great idea.

“If it helps our local businesses do better, combined with people having fun and donating to the homeless. It’s a win-win situation all around,” he said.

According to Luke, the town council has been receptive to the proposed idea, and the next step is meeting with them to try and get the event off the ground.

The aim of First Fridays is to provide a space that people are proud to participate in while gaining positive publicity for Chapel Hill.

“I’d be very interested in attending First Fridays because events like these promote community and support good causes. It’s also an easy way for everyone to have fun,” said sophomore Ashley Hollowell.

Luke was inspired to organize First Fridays after attending a similar event called First Thursdays while on a trip to South Africa.

“I think it’s an awesome idea because I’ve attended a similar event in downtown Raleigh and the community really enjoys it,” said sophomore Paige Balint. “A lot of people participate.”

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