The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Campus organizations offer UNC students support and community

UNC-Chapel Hill students take part in UNC's 2021 SmallFest, an adapted version of the FallFest tradition from years past, on Aug. 24, 2021. Despite the COVID modifications--fewer organizations at one time, a shorter time frame each day, and lengthening SmallFest to a week-long endeavor--students turn out in droves for free swag, fun activities, and, of course, to find organizations to join.

The University offers hundreds of organizations that students can join based on their major, professional aspirations or other interests.

The Daily Tar Heel spoke with three UNC students about the impact of joining campus organizations. Here’s what they said:

Carolina Indian Circle

The Carolina Indian Circle helps give Native American Indian students a sense of community and ensures that Native American heritage is valued at UNC through research, curriculum, cultural events and faculty representation, according to its description.

AJ Hunt-Briggs, a recent UNC graduate, was the president of the CIC for the 2021-2022 school year.

“The Carolina Indian Circle is a home away from home for Native students,” Hunt-Briggs said. “It is the only place that we can be around other Native students and be the majority and just feel that support as people who understand our experiences without even necessarily having to talk about it.”

They said the organization offers them a close-knit community, allowing them to be around people who share similar experiences and offering a great support network.

“We all know how difficult it is to be Native,” Hunt-Briggs said. “And then just being it around other people who don’t make it hard to just exist for a little bit is so great to have at a PWI.”

Hunt-Briggs said the CIC has taught them communication skills and has also improved their self-confidence.

“I think that I’ve just become more confident in my ability to be a leader and effect change when I have an amazing group of support,” they said.

Phi Delta Epsilon

Phi Delta Epsilon is an international medical fraternity at UNC that focuses on research and professionalism.

Rising senior Pierce Whiteman, the vice president of finance for Phi Delta Epsilon, said when he was a first-year, he was not involved with the organization and felt lost on his journey of pursuing medicine.

“But then once I joined, I was able to see how many different paths there are and there’s not one set path,” Whiteman said. “And so I’ve learned about a lot of opportunities I’ve become involved in outside as far as shadowing, research.”

Whiteman said Phi Delta Epsilon has a welcoming environment and includes people from many different walks of life.

He said he has also made good friends in the organization and has gained self-confidence he didn’t previously have.

The organization's events include panels with medical students and medical school deans. Whiteman said the fraternity also has events with Kaplan, which offers MCAT prep courses.

“I’ve learned a lot of things that I know now from those opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten outside of that,” he said.

Mi Pueblo

Mi Pueblo is a club that provides support for students and brings awareness of Latinx issues to UNC. It values and promotes tolerance, community, multiculturalism and support. The organization is Latinx-based but welcomes anyone to join, according to its description.

Erika Munguia is a co-president of Mi Pueblo. She said she encourages everyone to join, whether students identify as Latinx or Hispanic, or just want to learn more about the culture.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Munguia said joining new clubs will allow students to meet more people, develop friendships and find stability at UNC.

“Just go for it," she said. "I think obviously it’s scary at first, but I think if you don’t put yourself out there, then you’re never going to know if you would have met someone that literally would have become your best friend.”

Munguia said stepping into a leadership role in Mi Pueblo really helped her grow as a professional by teaching her communication and decision-making skills.

“It truly feels like family, and I think there’s no better way to put it,” she said. “Because you find your people, you find the people that you connect with, and then I think you kind of just grow together, which is something that we are really passionate about."

Learning more about student groups

For more information, students can visit Heel Life, an online platform that includes a list of campus organizations, as well as information about events and membership.

Additionally, each year after convocation, the Carolina Union hosts FallFest, an event to welcome new students to campus and orient them to the various organizations and opportunities available at UNC. Last year, the University adapted it to be SmallFest, a week-long event for students to participate in while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Information for the upcoming FallFest 2022 has not yet been released, but will be made available on or by following the hashtag #UNCFallFest.