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As the Fall 2017 semester kicked off, Diversity & Inclusion had several programs in place to ensure that students – returning and first-time – were properly welcomed to Carolina.

Achieving Carolina Excellence (ACE)

Kirstin Garris, 2017 ACE Keynote
Kirstin Garris, 2017 ACE Keynote

First up was Achieving Carolina Excellence (ACE), the pre-orientation program designed to assist first year or transfer students from underrepresented populations with their transition to UNC-Chapel Hill. Students and their families met with administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders to learn how to navigate their way to success, maximize campus resources and hear about student services and student involvement. Sessions included academic support services, breakout sessions, service learning projects, and cultural activities, with some terrific vocal groups entertaining the packed house.

The three-day experience also included group discussions on health and wellness, fraternity and sorority life, healthy relationships and specific cultural resources for American Indian, Asian, Latinx, and Black and African students, as well as discussions focusing on male, female and inclusive identity.

Over 445 attendees participated in the opening luncheon, which featured keynote speaker Spectrum News Reporter Kirstin Garriss (’11). Other highlights included the Academic Advising and Peer Mentoring Breakfast, during which participants interacted with current peer mentors (from the Minority Advising Program, Carolina Covenant Peer Mentoring Program, C-STEP Peer Mentoring Program, and the Latinx Peer Mentoring Program), a culture show with performances from various student groups, and a cookout.

UNC-Chapel Hill Fall Fest

D&I Staff at Fall Fest
D&I staff & volunteers at Fall Fest

As ACE ended, Diversity & Inclusion ushered in Fall Fest, introducing the new office name by handing out over 3,000 D&I cups to students during the frenzy and excitement of the annual campus tradition that starts in the late evening and ends in the wee hours.

Carolina Latinx Collaborative (CLC) Open House

Students with CLC Director, Josmell Perez
Students with CLC Director, Josmell Perez

The following day was the Carolina Latinx Collaborative (CLC) Open House, during which Chancellor Folt joined students as they created a handprint mural for the CLC office, mingled over piping hot pupusas (from UNC alumna and So Good Pupusas owner, Cecilia Polanco), and networked. Over 200 participants, including a dozen faculty and staff enjoyed the lively event, before donning their special sunglasses for safe viewing of the solar eclipse. “It was a lot of fun to watch as new students connected with current students, organizations and other supporters on our campus,” noted CLC Director Josmell Perez.

Next up on the D&I schedule of student events is a wide array of programming as part of Latinx Heritage Month, occurring between September 15 and October 15. Please check for updated information on scheduling.


By Adrianne Gibilisco, Diversity & Inclusion

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