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News Release

For immediate use

May 27, 2004 -- No. 298

‘Carolina Connects’ tour to link
UNC with N.C. citizens, communities

CHAPEL HILL -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser has launched a new initiative to strengthen the connections between the university and the lives of North Carolinians and their communities.

Through his "Carolina Connects" tour, Moeser today told UNC trustees that he is pledging to devote a considerable amount of his time traveling around the state to highlight the many ways in which the university serves the communities and people of North Carolina. Moeser will visit all regions of the state in the next several months.

In conjunction with "Carolina Connects," Moeser announced the debut of a new Public Service Database intended to be a source of help for North Carolina. Produced by the Carolina Center for Public Service, the Internet resource currently has more than 700 records of projects reaching all 100 counties. More projects will be added to the database over the coming months.

Moeser said the university’s latest efforts to connect with North Carolina build upon an incredible commitment to improving the state and its people. That commitment is not as well known as it should be, he said.

"Our message is that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves North Carolina every day in meaningful, relevant ways," Moeser said. "In short, ‘Carolina Connects.’

"Carolina has always played a significant leadership role in the life of this state," he said. "That is particularly true when the state has stood at a crossroads as we do now. Of all the crossroads we have faced, none is more uncertain than the one our state faces today. I firmly believe that this university has the power to make a difference."

Moeser is meeting with citizens and telling them about the university’s work in their communities. He is seeking out opportunities to learn about other ways Carolina can connect with the state and its issues.

Last month, Moeser visited Brunswick County to help celebrate a new partnership involving UNC’s Traveling Science Laboratory, which brings the latest science to public school students across the state who would not otherwise see what a science career can offer. Other partners include the local

school system and community college as well as the business community. Goals include improving career options for high school graduates and attracting a biotechnology company to the local economy.

Moeser recently participated in the Tar Heel Bus Tour, which sent 35 new faculty and officials more than 1,000 miles by bus to learn what it means to be a North Carolinian. Stops included a visit in Dunn to the Tri-County Health Clinic, which cares for area low-income residents. Participants learned about a UNC program that focuses on healthy eating, stress reduction and career counseling. It began in 1999 in response to Hurricane Floyd. Carolina started the bus tour in 1997 to help new faculty see where their own academic interests and research align with the state’s needs.

Moeser also joined new School of Education Dean Tom James in Siler City to discuss with Chatham County education leaders issues such as the educational needs of immigrants who do not speak English as a first language. Accompanying them was Dr. Jill Fitzgerald, a UNC education professor who left her classroom in Chapel Hill for a year to teach at Siler City Elementary School. That experience changed much of what she had been teaching her UNC students.

Moeser’s travels across the state will spotlight different areas of the university’s work in economic development, health care and public education and include dialogue with community leaders, elected officials, alumni, parents and others. Examples of future trips include a stop with Dr. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine and chief executive officer of UNC Health Care, to an Area Health Education Centers site in Wilmington. He will meet with faculty and students in Dare County who are involved in the Carolina Environmental Program’s Albemarle Ecological Field Site and join Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government, for an economic development forum in Kernersville.

The new Public Service Database represents one central way for the university to match the needs of citizens and communities with information about resources available in Chapel Hill. The database is available to the public at www.unc.edu/cps by clicking on "Search the Public Service Database."

"We hope the database will help interested parties learn about public service the university is engaged in, where it is happening, who the community partners are, and how to contact someone at the university to learn more," said Dr. Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Users can find descriptions of activities and projects in the database by searching on key words and topics, university department or unit or geographic area of the state, including county-by-county listings. Center staff can create and share copies of written reports for anyone who is interested.

For information on the database, contact Blanchard, Carolina Center for Public Service, Campus Box #3142, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (919) 843-7568; email, blanchard@unc.edu.

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News Services contact: Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu