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For first-years by first-years: Carolinapalooza showcases diversity and talent


The First-Year Focus Council of the Undergraduate Executive Branch of UNC Student Government will hold Carolinapalooza on April 4 at the Forest Theatre. Photo by Savannah Putnam.

At the beginning of the fall semester, there is a multitude of events to help first-years integrate to UNC and meet other first-years. There is Week of Welcome, trivia nights, open houses, games, lectures and lots of free food. But first-years can often be overlooked after that initial welcome, especially during spring semester. The First-Year Focus Council (FYFC) aims to change that with Carolinapalooza. 

Carolinapalooza will be held on April 4 at the Forest Theatre. The event is a showcase of the diversity and talent at UNC, as well as the diversity within the first-year class. 

There will be a variety of performances from groups such as Ek Taal, the Loreleis and Harmonyx. 

“We want (first-years) to see there are all these different groups on campus, they’re not all the same, and each person can find their niche on campus,” said April Turner, a member of FYFC. 

Turner said FYFC hopes the chance to see these popular campus groups for free will excite people and get them to come out to the event. There will also be a photo booth, free shirts, stickers and mugs for the class of 2022. 

FYFC holds events throughout the year and one big event in the spring. Lindsey Klaff, co-chairperson of FYFC, said first-years often go unnoticed after that initial welcome, so an event in the spring is a good way to fill that void. 

Turner said an event in the spring is also a good way for first-years to build connections going into their second year. She said FYFC’s main goal is to introduce first-years to other first-years and facilitate mingling. 

“You have people that live on South Campus, on North Campus, people who have most of their classes in the morning, people who have most of their classes in the afternoon,” Turner said. “So we’re bringing all of them together and giving them a space and a chance to get to know each other and form and build these relationships with each other.”

Carolinapalooza is led by first-years since all FYFC council members are first-years themselves. Klaff said she’s proud of the work her committee has done on the event, and that it’s been completely led by them.

Ekta Deshmukh, a first-year, will be performing at Carolinapalooza with Ek Taal. She said an event like Carolinapalooza that showcases so many different groups could help first-years feel like part of a more diverse community and feel safe in expressing themselves. 

Deshmukh is an out-of-state student, and she said she came to UNC not knowing anyone. She said events like the ones hosted by FYFC are important because they give first-years the chance to venture out and make new friends. 

“I think college is a time for you to branch out, make new friends, new connections, join a new club that you didn’t think you were gonna join or meet people from different backgrounds that you hadn’t met before,” Deshmukh said. “And I think events like these are perfect for that.” 

Editor's note: Michael Meeks, a DTH staff writer, is a member of the First-Year Focus Council and is included in the photo on this story. However, he was not interviewed for this article.

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