When I first came to UNC in 2017, I was so excited to be a part of the community. Not just the University community, but the town of Chapel Hill as well. I transferred my voting registration here and everything. I thought, if I’m going to live here for nine months out of the year, why not have a say in what goes on?
At the time, I thought Chapel Hill was just a sweet, simple college town that didn’t expand that far beyond Franklin Street. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have a car as a first-year, so my understanding of the town was based on the route of the U bus. Or maybe it was because my family wasn’t full of Tar Heels, so I never learned the folklore.
Regardless, I’m embarrassed of the way I used to perceive the town.
It started to change when I voted in my first election in the fall of 2017. I was doing research on the candidates for the Chapel Hill Town Council and kept seeing the issues of transportation and affordable housing popping up, and I realized I was in way over my head. I thought I was escaping Charlotte for a quaint life in a small town, but as it turns out, a lot is going on in Chapel Hill.
We as students can sometimes forget that what happens in this town really matters, and not just for us, but the people who actually live here.
We all have our favorite restaurants on Franklin Street, but what about when they go through a year of protests and hurricanes? There's even a lot to look out for in the local school district.
Chapel Hill deserves news tailored to people who live here in addition to students. In order to respond to this need, we at the city desk have launched a weekly newsletter called OC Report, where we will talk about what’s going on around Orange County — in the schools, in local government meetings, in the businesses and more — all sent right to your inbox on Monday morning.
And we want to hear from you. Each newsletter features a section for community members to share their thoughts about something happening in our community. It can be about anything that matters to you, from green burials to coal plants, as long as it's happening in the town or county. No issue is too small, so don't hesitate to send your column to city@dailytarheel to be featured.