As the year draws to a close, the usual flurry of seasonal
activities coincides with the end of the semester here at
Carolina. At the same time studying, review sessions, exams
and papers demand attention; students, faculty and staff are
also immersed in numerous efforts to address community need
during the holidays. Opportunities range from a campus food
drive to “adoptions” of families and nursing home
residents. However, as organizations and individuals throughout
the community and state know, the spirit of giving at Carolina
is not limited to this time of year. At the Carolina Center
for Public Service, we can look back at numerous accomplishments
and partnerships that have made 2005 such a successful year
for our campus and the community.
One highlight was seeing the first class of Public Service
Scholars graduate in May. Fifteen pioneers of the program
marched into Kenan Stadium sporting Carolina blue and white
cords on their robes. These graduates and the program were
featured at commencement. Last fall, 302 new students enrolled
in the Public Service Scholars program, bringing the total
to 623 participants. These students, representing 64 out of
100 North Carolina counties as well as 33 other states, the
District of Columbia and four foreign countries, contributed
more than 51,000 hours of service during 2005, 23,275 of which
were in Orange County. They worked in a wide variety of local
organizations and agencies, including the Chapel Hill Carrboro
and Orange County public school systems, the Orange County
Animal Shelter, Rape Crisis Center and the Red Cross.
Local partnerships were also key to the success of the “Student
Philanthropy Project,” in which students earn academic
credit while learning about and becoming community grants-makers.
Thanks to a local donor, students helped fund three projects:
“School’s Out,” a program of the Food Bank
of Central and Eastern North Carolina, the “Car Seat
Safety Program” of the Community School for People Under
Six, and “Therapeutic Recreation Fun Days” at
the Chapel Hills Parks and Recreation Department.
As with others across the nation, the devastating storms
along the gulf coast motivated the Carolina community to respond.
The Center was charged with coordinating UNC’s response
and we created a special website which was up and running
within 24 hours of Katrina’s landfall. Over 36 campus
organizations came together to conduct activities such as
“Pit Sits” and “Beads for the Bayou”
that netted over $58,000 in direct financial support of the
American Red Cross and other relief organizations.
We continue to update the web site as groups plan spring
relief trips to affected areas. We will help support those
efforts with grants from our special Hurricane Relief Fund
as well as campus-wide forums and training for those involved.
We have hopes that the new year will not bring the level of
disasters that the past two years have seen, but we also know
that the campus and community stand ready to respond if needed.
As we greet 2006, we begin the year with the kind of resolutions
that will be a pleasure to undertake. For instance, we will
continue to recognize faculty leaders like Gordon Whitaker
at the School of Government. Gordon received this year’s
Ned Brooks Award for Public Service honoring his work with
untold numbers of students and communities throughout the
state at our annual public service awards celebration. We
are excited to be announcing a new grants program beginning
with a locally focused endeavor supported by Strowd Roses
Inc., which will offer faculty an opportunity to address issues
of importance to Chapel Hill and Orange County through their
In these and countless other ways, we are working to ensure
that public service and community engagement help define Carolina
as a leading public university, and we want to celebrate the
season by thanking all those who have worked with us to make
a difference in Chapel Hill, throughout North Carolina and
around the world.
Lynn White Blanchard
Director, Carolina Center for Public Service email@example.com
UNC-Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3142