UNC dorms have stepped away from pirate- and jungle-themed halls and are now embracing UNC pride more than ever.
Rick Bradley, associate director of Housing and Residential Education, said the rebranding project began over the summer with an intent to connect to student interests by looking for new initiatives that students can latch onto.
“We had a review team that came in from three other universities as a part of that strategic plan and one of the things they noticed was that we don’t attach to the Carolina brand that much in our buildings,” he said. “We took that to our housing advisory board, which is a student organization. This was really one of the things that rose to the top for them as far as interest.”
Bradley said that overall there has been positive feedback from first-years and their parents. Many first-years have agreed that it has helped them feel more connected to the UNC community.
“I wouldn’t say it’s too overwhelming because I was definitely excited to come,” said first-year Nick Colvin, who’s living in Hinton James Residence Hall. “I haven’t gone to any events yet posted, but I like what they’re doing. It got me into dorm life more.”
Another first-year, Dorothy Colon, said she thought the change made the overall experience of a first-year move-in more inclusive.
“I think of back when I was moving in and about to move in — basically everything that I have learned around campus has been centralized around my dorm, like I know where to get to from Hinton James," Colon said. "I know where to get to from a certain spot. I just knew Hinton James was my place.”
Upperclass students also noticed the transformation in the first-year dorms.
Senior Rachel Hill said it will be good for first-years because it will encourage them to be more active in the UNC community.
Senior Kelsey Levanson said she didn’t know a lot about UNC before she came here and thinks the rebranding efforts will help first-years adjust.
“I think it can bolster school spirit more, especially as a first-year here because I wasn’t a Carolina fan before I came here,” Levanson said.
Bradley said that this is only phase one of the four-phase rebranding project, and that the housing department has plans to complete the other three phases by the winter of 2017, including remodeling upperclass student dorms.
“The first-year halls have more energy and are a little more ‘Ra Ra’ with getting people connected to the Carolina spirit,” Bradley said.
“Then as you move into upperclass halls, the design will become a little more sophisticated and mature to sort of show a student’s progression through the years here.”