After a year of mostly virtual learning, students will finally be met with a tentatively more traditional semester as UNC begins in-person classes. And for many in the UNC community, this fall marks the long-awaited return — or in some cases, the very first arrival — of students to campus in Chapel Hill.
University and student organizations make up a large part of life at UNC. From the Asian American Center, which is holding its grand opening on Friday, to the Carolina Women’s Center, The Daily Tar Heel has compiled the following list of University offices as a brief refresher on the identity-based resources supporting underrepresented communities on campus.
Editor’s Note: The Daily Tar Heel recognizes that the UNC community draws support from a variety of places on campus, including student and off-campus organizations. These identity-based University resources were pulled from the UNC Office for Diversity & Inclusion’s website.
This story is the first of a multi-part series highlighting campus resources. If you'd like for your organization to be featured, or have additional information, please email Elevate Editor Maydha Devarajan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 2006, the center aims to bring together the richness of American Indian cultures with research, service and education at the University. The AIC was born out of efforts in the early 2000s to address the lack of an organized program focused on American Indians or American Indian studies at UNC.
The AIC offers two scholastic awards, an ambassador program, a two-year leadership institute for students and an annual Elder in Residence Program. The center also has several other programs, including Native community engagement efforts focused on health and wellbeing. The AIC is located at 205 Wilson St., and has offices, a student resource lounge and conference room.
Jesalyn Keziah, community engagement program officer, said that the center will be taking a hybrid approach to programming and is monitoring UNC's safety protocols with COVID-19. Some of the AIC's events this semester include a new Native student orientation and programming throughout November to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month, during which the center will partner with the North Carolina Botanical Garden to host a Native Plant Symposium.
"I was a student here, both for undergrad and graduate school," Keziah said. "So I can say also from that experience, AIC is a really amazing resource for students on campus, for all of our Native staff and faculty, and also for everyone else to really learn about Native cultures and engage with Native happenings here on campus."
The Asian American Center opens to the public this Friday in a new space at 215 W. Cameron Ave. The AAC was established in 2020 after years of alumni and student-driven advocacy. The center aims to empower Asian American community members and promote an understanding of Asian American identities and cultures through education, organizing and advocacy.
Director Heidi Kim said in an email that the AAC will be hosting a variety of events this year, including workshops, film screenings and lunch tables with featured guests. The first AAC speaker showcase, to be held Aug. 28, will be centered around a discussion with associate professor Gang Yue and Asian American alumni about founding the first Asian American student groups during their time at UNC.
The center also has an AAC Fellows Program for researchers, artists and leaders engaged in work with Asian American communities. Last year, the AAC created a cookbook highlighting recipes through the generations from Asian American students.
Kim said the center's top priority is everyone's health, but hopes to safely have some in-person events in the newly renovated space like drop-in "coffee & chai" hours.
"I hope incoming students will come check us out and know that we are a resource and a welcoming home for everyone who wants to learn more about Asian America and share their own experiences," Kim said.
The Carolina Latinx Center offers campus members the opportunity to explore Latinx cultures and histories through engagement, scholarship, public service and cultural awareness. The Carolina Latinx Center was launched in 2019 in Abernethy Hall, a decade after the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative was established. The Collaborative previously served as a program under the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and was a first step toward eventually creating a stand-alone center, a charge driven by students, faculty and staff.
The center's featured programs include Éxitos 2021, a special graduation ceremony; La Conferencia, a spring conference and space for networking; and an annual open house on Aug. 25. Director Josmell Pérez said this year, the CLC will also have an alternative fall break opportunity, the return of a Top of Lenoir dinner and other activities for Latinx Heritage Month and a monthly series called "Churros y Chisme," where students can engage in conversations and enjoy snacks from local Latinx-owned business Epilogue. The center also has a student lounge in Abernethy 113A, called "La Sala."
Perez said the CLC will follow University COVID-19 guidelines in keeping the space open. The center also has a resource guide linked on their website for students which highlights Latinx-centered classes, programs and organizations.
"For any student, I think that we invite them and welcome them to come and learn, and even just sit and have a conversation," Perez said.
The Carolina Veterans Resource Center supports military-connected students. The center offers scholarships, grants and loans, and a community for military and military family members on campus. Their recent Boot Print to Heel Print orientation program helps students who are active duty, veteran, reservist or National Guard transition to college life.
Program Director MaDana Bivens said in a statement that the center welcomes not only veterans, but also dependents, spouses and ROTC students.
"The center provides a multitude of resources and amenities, which include a spacious lounge area, kitchen and study rooms," Bivens said in a statement. "We also offer academic and career workshops, front desk peer advising and many social and wellness events."
The CRVC is located at 211 Branson St. and is also offering online resources.
The Carolina Women's Center aims to further intersectional gender equity at UNC. Resources include HAVEN training, support for survivors of gender-based violence and family and parenting information. In 2019, the center also worked with activists and student organizations to further its Feminism for All program. The center is located in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History Suite 101.
Established in 1997, the CWC highlights student leadership and community engagement through The Moxie Project and research in its Faculty Scholars Program. Gender violence service coordinators provide confidential advocacy for all students and faculty impacted by gender-based violence and harassment before or during their time at UNC.
The LGBTQ Center works to create an inclusive environment for community members of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions at UNC.
The LGBTQ office was established in 2003 within the Office of the Dean of Students, and became a separate administrative center in 2006. The center offers Safe Zone allyship trainings, an LGBTQ-centered lending library and various other educational resources.
"We support student organizations. We provide programs to support and build community," said Director Terri Phoenix. "We have a peer-support and discussion group for trans-identifying people and we have a social group for queer and trans people of color."
The center recognizes campus activists, allies and community members through their LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Awards, Lavender Graduates ceremony, Queer MiniCon and ongoing pride and awareness programming.
You can find the LGBTQ Center on campus at SASB South, Suite 3308 or through their online events. You can also request to talk to a center staff member under the 'Want to Talk?' section of their website, check out their Healthy Relationships modules on Sakai and subscribe to their newsletters.
The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History — carrying the namesake of a beloved former faculty member — supports open dialogue and critical examination of African-American and African diaspora cultures.
The center was first formed in 1988, initially known as the Black Cultural Center. After years of work and activism on the part of students and other community members to establish a freestanding center, the Stone Center space opened in 2004. The building offers a library, auditorium and the Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum — now displaying the work of renowned artist and architect Phil Freelon.
Programming supports Black artists and creatives, along with providing fellowships, grants and standing lecture series. The Stone Center also sponsors the Communiversity Youth Program.
"The Stone Center provides study space and space to just relax; the SC library is open weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and students, staff and faculty can pass time on the veranda and other seating areas in the SC building," Senior Program Manager Sheriff Drammeh said in an email.
The Stone Center is located at 150 South Rd. Highlights this fall include a Stone Memorial Lecture by UNC's own professor emerita Genna Rae McNeil, a talk by the first Black mayor of Chapel Hill, Howard Lee, and the Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film series. The film lineup and RSVPs for the events can be found on the website.
The Carolina Center for Jewish Studies provides both academic and community programming through the College of Arts and Sciences rooted in Jewish history and culture. It is located in Pettigrew Hall, Suite 100.
Teaching is interdisciplinary and complements the center's community outreach and engagement work. The center leads several majors and minors related to Jewish, Religious and American Studies, along with classes in folklore, expressive cultures, Hebrew, Yiddish, the American Jewish experience and more. The center also provides grants and funding for research.
On Sept. 1, the center — in partnership with the Duke Center for Jewish Studies — will be hosting a Zoom lecture by Liora Halperin, "The Oldest Guard: Landowners, Local Memory and the Making of the Zionist Settler Past."
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