Serving the Tar Heel State

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 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 life-changing discoveries in labs and creating a better future for all of North Carolina through research.

A person standing in the ocean with science equipment.

Tar Heels in the community

  • Theodore Nollert

    Teaching poetry and literature in prison

    Graduate student Theodore Nollert, also president of Graduate and Professional Student Government, shared his experiences teaching American poetry and literature in a North Carolina prison.

  • A student conducting research at the coast.

    A classroom on the Core Sound

    Carolina undergraduates studying in the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Morehead City Field Site worked with the National Park Service to study a new issue impacting the barrier islands of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. 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.

  • Daniel Garcia outside.

    Making college a reality for more North Carolinians

    Daniel Garcia '21 knows what it's like to not have a college advisor to help you figure out a path to college. As a member of the Carolina College Advising Corps, he's drawing on his own experiences as a high schooler and his time in Chapel Hill to help more students throughout the state see higher education as an option.

  • 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.

  • Spencer wearing his purple heart.

    Restoring a veteran’s honor

    Students at the UNC School of Law’s Military and Veterans Law Clinic help veterans fight for upgrades or corrections in military discharges to make life-saving resources available to the former service members. For one North Carolina veteran, they restored all the honors he was owed — including his Purple Heart.

  • Ricardo sitting at a desk.

    A responsibility to rural North Carolina

    Having grown up surrounded by fields in southeastern North Carolina, Ricardo Crespo is training to practice medicine in the same kinds of rural communities. He’s starting that mission with Carolina’s Student Health Action Coalition. He is also part of the Kenan Primary Care Rural Medical Scholars, a UNC School of Medicine program that prepares students to pursue rural, underserved patient practice in North Carolina.

The Tar Heel Bus tour

Heels on
a bus

Later this week, 80 Carolina faculty members and administrators will hit the road to learn more about the pressing issues facing our state and see how UNC-Chapel Hill reaches every corner of North Carolina. Traveling more than 1,000 miles, the Tar Heels will see firsthand how our work extends beyond Chapel Hill to make a real-world difference for North Carolinians and discover new ways to leverage partnerships throughout the state.

"I charge you to listen to the people of our state and engage with the towns and communities our students call home. This tour will promote scholarship and service that responds to the concerns of the state and contributes to the common good," Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz told the Tar Heel Bus Tour participants at this year's University Day celebration. "I charge you to find ways to center our work around the needs of North Carolinians and live our mission of teaching, research and service as a public university."

    Press the play button above to watch the video
  • A group of faculty members walk through the woods at Green Swamp Preserve.

    Since 1997, the tour has helped faculty and administrators understand North Carolina while learning about each other. Take a look at the tour’s history, its influence on faculty and staff, its value and the behind-the-scenes work that keep the buses rolling.

    Tar Heel Bus Tour connects Carolina to the state
  • A bus parked in front of a building.

    The 2019 Tar Heel Bus Tour was a special one. Participants came back tired but energized, filled with ideas about how they could work with each other and the people they had met across the state to improve the lives of North Carolinians

    Collaborative projects trace beginnings to 2019 bus tour

Bus tour highlights

  • Carolina Across 100

    BURLINGTON: Carolina Across 100

    Carolina Across 100 is a five-year initiative, led by the ncIMPACT Initiative, seeking to support community-driven recovery and build sustainable efforts in all 100 counties by providing human resources, data insights, coaching, facilitation, coordination efforts and program design. “Our State, Our Work” is the first program in this larger initiative.

  • ELIZABETH CITY: UNC Auxiliary University Program

    The Coast Guard Auxiliary University Program at Carolina provides students with real experience working and training with the military branch. Tar Heels serve the state by supporting the Coast Guard’s active military and civilian personnel in business operations, information technology, GIS, public policy, environmental response and maritime strategy.

  • Side by side photos of NC A&T and UNC-Chapel Hill

    GREENSBORO: NC A&T Looking Forward Funding Project Partnership

    Carolina and N.C. A&T researchers partner to tackle critical issues through the Looking Forward program, which incentivizes collaborative teams that represent and leverage the strengths of each institution equally, with the goal of providing solutions to complex issues facing the citizens of North Carolina and beyond.

  • Roxboro: Carolina Community Academy

    Carolina is partnering with Person County School District to launch the Carolina Community Academy, an innovative school for K-2 students at North Elementary in Roxboro, North Carolina.