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The Daily Tar Heel

Are you overly passionate about libraries? Chapel Hill has just the thing for you

The Chapel Hill Building Integrated Communities Project met for the first time in January of 2018. 

The Chapel Hill Building Integrated Communities Project met for the first time in January of 2018. 

The Town of Chapel Hill is accepting applications for its advisory boards, and diverse voices and fresh perspectives are top priorities.

Advisory boards, committees and commissions cover a range of topics including community design, social justice, libraries, history, housing and transportation. Appointed members meet once or twice monthly and are eligible for a three-year term. All advisory board meetings are open to the public. 

Town residents who are interested in advocating for fellow residents, providing feedback to the local government and providing their perspective on issues regarding the Town of Chapel Hill are encouraged to apply. If appointed to a board, committee or commission, training will be provided, so no prior experience is necessary.

With 18 advisory boards, committees and commissions that advise the Town government, Chapel Hill Mayor pro tem and council member Jessica Anderson said there’s something for everybody.  

“Any interest you could possibly have, we probably have an advisory board for you,” Anderson said.

Joining an advisory board, committee or commission allows members of the community the opportunity to shape the community and share their perspective. Transportation to and from meetings and childcare during meetings are also provided to serving members.

The application consists of a few multiple choice questions and some open-ended response questions, and it can be found on the Town’s website. Applications are due April 1. 

Anderson said the advisory boards are just one of the many ways the Town government tries to increase community input in the decisions it makes. These groups advise the Town on issues going on within their specific topic and recommend what action, if any, should be taken to address any existing issues. 

Each board reviews applications for new members and makes recommendations to the Town Council on who should be appointed to their board, but ultimately the Council has the authority to appoint new members, Anderson said. Because each individual group knows best what expertise they have or might be lacking on their board, the Town Council takes their recommendations seriously, she said. 

Jaclyn Gilstrap, chairperson of the Justice in Action Committee, said she got involved with the Town’s advisory boards in the summer of 2018 to bring her perspective about women, youth and queer rights to the conversations happening in the Town.

“For our committee, we’re more so looking for people who are already involved in issues of social justice around the community,” Gilstrap said. “And then they’re just bringing those experiences, whether it’s lived experience or work experience, to the table.”

Gilstrap said she’s interested in finding new members for the Justice in Action Committee that are involved in their communities and will come to the committee with an active, passionate voice. She said she wants to make sure the Town is providing a space for voices that are often unheard.

Anderson said diversity among the advisory board members is something the Town values, so it is always trying to reach out and find members of differing races, genders and socioeconomic statuses to join its advisory boards. In order to keep the conversation rich, Anderson said, it is important to have input from individuals that represent a cross section of members of the Chapel Hill community. 

“It’s important for the community to be able to give us feedback and input on things that come before us,” Anderson said. “This is one of the really important ways that we do that. We really value our advisory board members.”


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