More than 100 Carolina student-athletes and athletic department staff members spent Saturday morning volunteering at two Habitat for Humanity sites in Efland, N.C., serving their community while also building community among Tar Heel teams. The group, which included students and/or coaches from 12 UNC-Chapel Hill squads, teamed up to apply manpower to a variety of tasks including landscaping, painting and clean-up work.
“We had a great day helping Habitat, and it was fun to see so many student-athletes from so many teams join together and contribute,” said Carolina football coach Larry Fedora, who first suggested the large-scale “Day of Service” idea. “I think it’s important for our program to always be involved in community projects like this.”
Tar Heel student-athletes are active in community outreach throughout the year, volunteering more than 4,600 hours during the 2015-16 school year. This marked the first designated Day of Service. It also marked the largest group Orange County Habitat for Humanity has hosted in its 30-year history.
Many of those who participated are incoming first-year students. The morning helped them get to know their fellow Tar Heels better while also taking part in the department tradition of community outreach.
“It was awesome getting the team out there and working together on something other than a school project or team workouts,” said Kyle Murphy, a junior on the football team and regular volunteer for Habitat. “It’s easy to get busy and forget about helping out around town, and today was a great opportunity to give back.”
Several teams participated in Habitat builds during the 2015-16 school year, but Saturday’s effort was planned to be more widespread.
“For me, the best part of the day was watching the athletes from different teams work together to give back to the community, regardless of their sport or their background,” said Jennifer Player, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate who serves as Director of Development and Administration for Orange County Habitat for Humanity. “The energy and the positivity from the students made it a fantastic day and we hope to do it again next year.”
Throughout the year, Tar Heel student-athletes are active in a variety of outreach programs and projects through Carolina Outreach, a part of UNC Student-Athlete Development. For more information on Carolina Outreach, click here and follow on Twitter at @UNC_SADev.
“It was a pleasure to be a part of the UNC Athletics day with Habitat for Humanity,” said Ron Reeves, Associate Director of Ticket Operations and one of the UNC staff members who participated Saturday. “During our time I was able to talk to many student-athletes from many different backgrounds and hear about their stories. Most importantly I was able to answer a lot of questions they had about community outreach, the UNC community and about what they can do beyond today to help others not only at UNC, but their own hometown areas.”