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Serving North Carolina

The University for North Carolina

As a university built for the people, public service is at the core of Carolina’s mission. Tar Heels are dedicated to serving North Carolinians from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Crystal Coast.

Students, faculty and staff dedicate thousands of hours each year to helping our communities by performing service projects and participating in outreach programs while also making community-changing discoveries and creating a better future for all of North Carolina through research.

Two woman stand in high grass in a saltmarsh.

This week, Carolina is celebrating the community-driven partnerships powered by state and local community leaders and faculty, staff and students.

The weeklong celebration of public engagement will feature virtual and in-person events, workshops and other experiences that highlight collaborations between UNC-Chapel Hill and community partners across North Carolina. Throughout the week, more than 30 campus units and their partners will share how they are working in concert to improve the lives of North Carolinians.

View the Engagement Week event calendar

Carolina Across 100

Among the partnerships between the University and our state is Carolina Across 100.

Last spring, the University reaffirmed and broadened its commitment to public service when we launched the initiative, which is working to identify challenges across the state, then leverage Carolina’s expertise to address them.

The five-year University-wide project is identifying common themes and using interdisciplinary teams to partner with community leaders to create solutions to complex issues impacting North Carolina.

  • Carolina Across 100

    Through the Carolina Across 100 initiative, the University will support communities in each of the state’s 100 counties as they respond to opportunities and challenges.

    Learn more about Carolina Aross 100
  • Anita Brown-Graham standing at the podium.

    In a new Carolina Across 100 program, the University will work with 20 community collaboratives in North Carolina to expand and deepen education and employment pathways for young adults aged 16-24 who are out of school and work.

    Improving opportunities for North Carolina youth

Tar Heels in the community

  • A student conducting research at the coast.

    A classroom on the Core Sound

    More than a dozen Tar Heels spent last semester on the coast taking classes and conducting real-world research on a new issue impacting the barrier islands of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

    Together with faculty from the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, the students studied several ponds created by overwash from Hurricane Dorian in 2019 to help the park service understand the ponds’ ecology and make appropriate plans in the years ahead.

  • Two men look at a document on a table.

    Lead for North Carolina prepares our state’s future leaders

    Operated by the UNC School of Government, the Lead for North Carolina program is training future leaders to address problems facing North Carolinians by placing young professionals in local government offices.

  • Will Douthit

    Carolina Homelessness Prevention Initiative

    When he first arrived in Chapel Hill, Will Douthit knew he wanted to make a difference. He's spent his college career doing just that with the Carolina Homelessness Prevention Initiative, which helps provide that critical assistance for Orange County residents on the verge of homelessness. Since launching in 2017, the group has helped more than 100 community members when they needed it most.

  • Tim Walker in his classroom

    Alumnus builds sense of community with his career

    Alumnus Tim Walker always knew he wanted to be a teacher. After earning his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Carolina, followed by a Master of Arts in Teaching at the UNC School of Education, he now teaches social studies at Carrboro High School, building community for the next generation of learners.

  • A building in rocky mount.

    Creating better futures through economic development

    CREATE, which is housed in the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, builds new wealth in economically distressed communities through job creation, business growth, useful research and innovative policy.

  • Driving our state’s economy

    Not only are Tar Heels improving the lives of North Carolinians by finding solutions to major medical and societal challenges, but they’re also building better opportunities for all residents by creating jobs and bringing business to our state.

    The University has also been home to nearly 800 startups — more than half of which are still operating today and headquartered in our state, bringing in more than $14 billion in annual revenue and creating thousands of additional jobs.