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Media Advisory

For immediate use

July 9, 2004 -- No. 349

Enhanced support for citizen-soldiers, families focus
of chancellor’s ‘Carolina Connects’ trip to Asheville

Monday, July 12, 10 a.m.
Asheville National Guard Armory
75 Shelburne Road, Asheville

Media representatives are invited to cover a visit Monday (July 12) by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser to the Asheville National Guard Armory as part of a university effort to bring more support to National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves family members and those working on their behalf.

Moeser’s trip to Asheville is part of his "Carolina Connects" initiative, launched this past spring. In the next several months, Moeser will visit each region of the state to highlight the many ways in which UNC-Chapel Hill serves North Carolina’s people and their communities.

U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor of Brevard is scheduled to join Moeser at Monday’s event. Taylor has supported a university initiative designed to help better address issues and challenges Guard and Reserve members and their families face during periods of mobilization and deployment for duty. Moeser and Taylor will meet with a small group of 105th Military Police Battalion members and their family members. Some battalion members already have seen active duty; others are preparing for deployment. Participants also will include family program coordinators for the National Guard Family Assistance Program in Asheville as well as statewide.

Last month, the U.S. House appropriations committee – led by members of the N.C. Congressional delegation – approved $3 million for the university’s Citizen-Soldier Initiative. University officials are hopeful that funding will remain available for the initiative in the final Defense Appropriations bill under consideration by a joint Senate-House conference committee.

The UNC initiative aims to address the needs of Guard and Reserve families with comprehensive and coordinated services. In addition to enhancing communication,

the program – if funded – would work to bring employers, schools, child-care providers, health professionals and faith-based organizations into the support infrastructure. This program is particularly critical in North Carolina, where an increasing number of Guard and Reserve forces are being deployed. More than a third of the 23,300 Guard and Reserve members in the state have been mobilized.

Moeser already has been promoting the university citizen-soldier initiative during his "Carolina Connects" tour. Other recent stops have included Ft. Bragg. (Details: http://www.unc.edu/news/clips/jul04/Fayetteville_Observer_062404.doc)

During a two-day visit to Asheville, Moeser’s schedule also will include a meeting with a small group of incoming Carolina freshmen who are part of the first class in the Carolina Covenant, a groundbreaking program announced by Moeser last fall to ensure a debt-free education for admitted low-income students. UNC was the first major public university to launch such a program and it begins this fall. Harvard University and the universities of Virginia and Maryland are among national institutions announcing programs similar to the Carolina Covenant. The Carolina Covenant already has inspired generous private gifts including one from Tar Heel Basketball Coach Roy Williams, an Asheville native, and his family. Williams also endorsed the program in a TV spot message the university is broadcasting during Tar Heel sports broadcasts.

Moeser’s schedule may permit additional opportunities for interviews about the "Carolina Connects" tour on Tuesday (July 13) morning. Contact Mike McFarland, University Relations, (919) 962-8593, with your requests.

Carolina Connects background: http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/may04/carolinaconnects052704.html

Carolina Covenant background: http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/feb04/williams_covenant021004.html (this link includes access to the Roy Williams TV spot).

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UNC contact: Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593 or (919) 614-5436 (cell) or mike_mcfarland@unc.edu