AUGUST 12, 2006 'Good Neighbor' teams to help students start off right by Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Jablonski Vice
Chancellor for Student Affairs The University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill for The Chapel Hill News
As the start of the university's academic year
approaches, our students will begin their migration back to
the Chapel Hill area.
Many longtime residents know well the rhythm of the late
summer move-in, identified by moving vans, increased business
activity downtown area and a general rise in the hustle and
bustle of pedestrians along our streets. Aug.19 is the official
move-in day for Carolina students this fall. In this one day
the face of our community will change as many of our 26,000-plus
students begin moving into homes either on or off campus.
It is the influx of these students each year that contributes
to making Chapel Hill a vibrant and exciting place to live.
You have probably heard many times that Carolina's mission
is teaching, research and public service. Our students manifest
our public service mission as they log countless volunteer
hours in the community. The importance of this public service
is a palpable and valuable contribution that our students
provide to the well-being of the community.
At its core, public service is based on respect for our community
neighbors. We know that students' engagement in service connects
them to the town in real and tangible ways. We expect that
students who live off campus will model the respect they show
in their volunteer work within their own neighborhoods as
Some of our students may move into your neighborhood this
year. For the past few years, to help students make the transition
to living in the broader community, the university administration
and student government leaders have joined with colleagues
in town of Chapel Hill departments and with neighborhood associations
and agencies to provide educational and community resources
to students through our Good Neighbor Initiative.
As part of move-in day on Aug. 19, "Good
Neighbor" teams made up of Chapel Hill police officers,
university representatives from student affairs and student
government and permanent residents from neighborhoods near
campus will again walk around to welcome students who are
The teams will knock on doors for a quick conversation to
say, "Welcome, we're glad you're here. This neighborhood
is made up of a diverse group of residents, some professionals,
some students, some young families and some retired persons.
Please take some time to go next door and meet your neighbors."
We will also use this opportunity to share information that
all new residents need, such as local resources and ways to
get involved in the community, as well as town ordinances
on litter, noise, front-yard parking, and whom to call if
they encounter problems.
Being a good neighbor will come naturally to many of our
students, and we believe that a little education, a hearty
welcome and a personal touch will help build a strong base
for the positive relationships we hope our students will develop
with their neighbors.
If you are a neighbor to our students, we hope you will reach
out and welcome them as well. Go next door and say hello.
Build a neighborly relationship with them, with open communication,
so you can talk if a concern arises, or depend on each other
if needed in the coming months.
As we work with our students living off-campus, we also remain
committed to making on-campus living an attractive choice
for students. Move-in day will mark the opening of major new
housing on campus. Ram Village, a complex of five buildings
on south campus, will provide apartment-style living for 900
sophomores through seniors.
Campus residence halls are also undergoing extensive renovations.
Morrison Residence Hall, which is always one of our most popular
halls, will reopen in 2007, providing another 875 beds. This
year our two oldest residence halls, Old East and Old West,
will be closed for renovation.
This new housing construction and renovation program fulfills
a key component of the 2001 campus master plan to increase
housing and to create a sense of residential community on
south campus. The Rams Head Center, with its new dining hall
and student recreation center, began the transformation when
it opened in 2005.
South campus living will have another boost this spring when
the Student Services complex opens on the corner of Manning
Drive and Ridge Road, the former site of Chase Dining Hall.
Bringing to one site most student service offices on campus,
this building will also provide additional space for study
and meetings 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As we strive to create a healthy community for our students
on and off campus, partnerships like the Good Neighbor Initiative
encourage our off campus students to recognize the value of
our permanent neighbors and the meaning of neighborhood and
being a good citizen.
For more information about how the Good Neighbor Initiative
can assist in your neighborhood, please contact our colleagues
in the Chapel Hill Police Department's Community Services
Unit at 969-2068, or contact us on campus at GoodNeighbor@unc.edu.
Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Jablonski is vice chancellor
for student affairs at the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill. She came to Carolina from Brown University and
welcomes calls and emails at 966-4045 and Margaret_Jablonski@unc.edu.