August 10, 2022
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Back to school at Carolina means many things — celebrating FDOC with a first sip at the Old Well, meeting new friends and reuniting with old, and all the fun that fall on campus means. For our students who live in housing off campus, this time of year also means meeting new neighbors!

The Good Neighbor Initiative (GNI) — a partnership among the University, the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and several community organizations — is here to help strengthen the connections between Carolina students and long-time residents to help Tar Heels thrive in off-campus housing.

At its core, that means helping students, who may be living in a neighborhood on their own for the first time, understand the responsibilities of community living, according to Aaron Bachenheimer, Executive Director of Off-Campus Student Life and Community Partnerships.

This fall GNI hosted a two-day Door-to-Door Walk Aug 11-12, during which community members could meet their new student-neighbors. Each year nearly 100 volunteers fan out into the near campus and downtown neighborhoods to meet and talk with students about being good neighbors and the expectations and responsibilities that come along with living in a residential community. Over two days, volunteers will knock on more than 1000 doors in the Northside, Pine Knolls, Cameron-McCauley neighborhoods, as well as North Street, Davie Circle and the Dawes and Coolidge street areas.

Another fun fall GNI tradition is the annual Community Cookout, which will be held this year on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Hargraves Community Center at 5:30 p.m. This event is open to the public, and the festivities will include food from Al's Burger Shack and Ben & Jerry's, along with music and a photo booth! Mark your calendar for this event, which typically draws hundreds of students and community members for fun and community-building.

Living off campus offers a lot of conveniences and enriching life experiences. The Good Neighbor Initiative is a program to make sure it's a positive experience for students and neighbors. As we start the fall semester, Bachenheimer says he wants students to be reminded of these key points:

  • Register your party.
  • Keep noise down!
  • Take care of trash/recycling.
  • Meet your neighbor and/or volunteer in your community.

Read more about The Good Neighbor Initiative at The Well.

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