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Media Advisory

For immediate use

May 18, 2006 -- No. 269

Day 5 finds Tar Heel Bus Tour participants focused
on Citizen-Soldier Support Program, textile industry


Friday, May 19

The Citizen-Soldier Support Program, UNC-Chapel Hill-led initiative for families of military reservists and National Guard service people, and a state-of-the-art textile factory will be the focus of the final day of the 2006 Tar Heel Bus Tour.

In Hildebran, participants will visit DeFeet manufacturing plant. The state-of-the-art textile factory specializes in high-performing athletic socks and reflects the changes occurring in the state's textile industry. In Lexington, they will meet with representatives of the Citizen-Soldier Support Program, a community-based effort designed to strengthen existing National Guard and National Reserve programs by bringing employers, schools, child-care providers, health professionals and other organizations into a broad support network.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser and Dr. Joseph Templeton, chairman of the faculty and a chemistry professor, are accompanying the group of 36 new faculty and administrators.

Friday's schedule, highlights:

9-11 a.m. DeFeet manufacturing plant, 371 I-40 Access Road, Hildebran.

Tour participants will walk the plant, gaining a first-hand sense of its operations. Shane Cooper, president and founder of DeFeet, will talk about how the textile industry is adapting to a changing economic environment through advanced technologies and better service of niche markets. DeFeet's product - the AiroEoAtor - sparked the airflow sock rage that continues today. To learn more about DeFeet, visit www.defeet.com.

Note: Media representatives covering this stop on the tour may encounter restricted access in some parts of the plant. DeFeet staff will advise along the way. Cameras and recorders are otherwise welcome.

Also joining the tour for this stop will be Dr. Rachel A. Willis, associate professor of American studies and adjunct professor of economics at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Dan St. Louis, director of the Hosiery Technology Center at Catawba Valley Community College. They will talk about preparing workers for jobs in this fast-changing industry.

12:15-2:15 p.m. National Guard Armory, 201 W. 9th Ave., Lexington.

A collaborative program based at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Citizen-Soldier Support Program brings together a broad coalition of local organizations and resources to aid families of National Guard members and military reservists as well as the citizen soldiers themselves when they return from duty. For more information, visit www.unc.edu/news/archives/dec05/csspfunding1205.htm.

The visit will start with a lunch during which tour participants will hear from some of the families benefiting from the program. The group then will visit the Davidson County Library in Lexington, which has become a resource site for military families.

Hosting the meeting will be Dr. Karen Smith Rotabi, the CSSP's support programs coordinator in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work; Roman Bowles, the central North Carolina liaison for the program; Ruth Ann Copley and Mindy Faircloth of the Davidson County Library; and Dr. Allison Rosenberg, associate vice chancellor for research, federal affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill and a founder of the CSSP.

Interviews: Participants and tour organizers are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at each stop. During the tour, call UNC News Services at (919) 962-2091 with questions about coverage, directions to tour stops or help setting up interviews with tour participants.

Tour background:

The UNC-Chapel Hill group is traveling more than 1,000 miles this week (May 15-19) in a classroom on wheels to learn about distinctly North Carolina topics and visit some of the state's historic and scenic sites. The tour highlights the university's public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.

"We aim to help faculty gain a better understanding of North Carolina and the people we serve," said Chancellor Moeser. "As we aspire to be the leading public university in the country, we must serve the people and communities that surround us."

The privately funded tour, which began in 1997, aims to teach new faculty and administrators about North Carolina's people, geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. Many stops highlight UNC-Chapel Hill outreach projects. The participants also have opportunities to learn how their research, teaching and public service can serve the state's needs.

Stops on Monday, in Halifax and Rocky Mount, covered the life of UNC founder William R. Davie and university outreach work with a health services program. On Tuesday, tour participants visited the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City and took a boat trip to Shackleford Banks - learning about how hurricanes have affected water quality in the state. Later, in Albertson, the group visited B.F. Grady Elementary School to hear how Carolina's School of Education professors have worked with teachers and leaders there to meet the needs of the district's fast-growing Hispanic population. And in Shannon, participants visited the Lumbee community facility at Three Sisters Farm, run by the American Indian Mothers group. On Wednesday, the focus was on the state's higher education system as tour participants met with peers at UNC-Charlotte) before heading to Chimney Rock and gaining knowledge of the economic development efforts underway in that small town and others across North Carolina. On Thursday, tour participants - joined by Chancellor James Moeser - visited with colleagues at UNC-Charlotte and toured Chimney Rock, learning about how that community and other small North Carolina towns are positioning themselves for economic development success.

Carolina Connections: Burke County is home to 103 UNC-Chapel Hill students and 746 alumni; and Davidson County is home to 176 students and 1,033 alumni.

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2006 Tar Heel Bus Tour news release: http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/may06/bustour051106.htm

News Services contacts: Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595 or karen_moon@unc.edu; LJ Toler, (919) 962-8589 or laura_toler@unc.edu