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Honors Carolina spices up recruitment with its own branded hot sauce


Honors students in the class of 2023 received branded hot sauce from Honors Carolina to welcome them into the program. Five leftover bottles were given away through an instagram competition. 

Honors Carolina is known for many things: its selectivity, its networking opportunities, its study abroad programs — and its hot sauce.

In 2019, the program sent branded hot sauce to all accepted Honors students in the Class of 2023 to welcome them. The sauce quickly became well-known. 

To celebrate reaching 1,300 Instagram followers, Honors Carolina decided to give away five bottles of its leftover sauce last week. Students entered the competition by tagging a friend on the post, which racked up over 760 comments. The winners were notified on Friday, Feb. 7.

Madeline Allen, the Honors Carolina marketing and international programming assistant, said the purpose of the giveaway was to interact with students on social media.

“I never thought the giveaway would have exploded in the way that it did,” Allen said. “It’s really exciting to see students engage with us in a different way than they have previously.”

Greer Underwood, a sophomore in the Honors program majoring in philosophy and American studies, entered the giveaway hoping to try the sauce. She said she believes Honors Carolina began giving out the sauce as a means of recruitment.

“If they are giving away something that might not necessarily have to do with an academic program, it may make them seem more personable,” she said.

Alice Roosevelt, a first-year Honors student majoring in peace, war and defense, and economics, was one of the students who received the sauce when she was admitted.

“I guess it’s kind of a thing to welcome you,” Roosevelt said. “A little extra something. At least in New York, a lot of people apply to 20-something colleges, so it makes them stand out to everyone else.”

Allen said members of the Honors Carolina team originally came up with gifting the hot sauce, which they get from wholesaler Hot Sauce Harry’s, as a way to get students excited about coming to UNC and becoming part of the Honors program.

Allen was surprised by the enthusiasm of the giveaway winners. Sarah Padyk and Megan Pope, two sophomores who won bottles of sauce, did a photoshoot with it around campus.

“I thought people would be excited about it, but I never thought they would be this excited about it that they would do a photoshoot,” said Allen. “It was hilarious to see the reactions.”

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