Summer of Service photo contest

APPLES intern Caroyn Ebeling East Coast Greenway Alliance 1UNC students do great things during the summer – and great things in service. In celebration of that work, the Carolina Center for Public Service would like to share what you did this summer in service.

WHAT: Summer of Service photo contest. Did you work with a community organization or engage in service in a meaningful way this summer? If so, we invite you to share photos of how you spent your summer in service

WHO: All UNC students who engaged in public service during the summer are invited to share their service photos.

WHEN: Starting July 17 through Aug. 18, 2015, students may submit and share their photos.

HOW: UNC students should tweet their Summer of Service photos to @UNCServes with the hashtag #uncserves. APPLES Service-Learning (@UNC_APPLES) and Buckley Public Service Scholars (@ServiceScholars) will retweet photos. Photos can also be sent to to be tweeted by the Carolina Center for Public Service. High resolution and action photos are best (action photos are defined as anything that shows the student/organization actively engaged in a service-oriented task/project). Please make sure to review any policies and procedures about photographing your work with your supervisor and have a signed photos release/authorization where necessary.

EXTRA: We know UNC students do amazing things in service and we are excited to share your experiences. One photo will be selected the first week of classes and the winning student will receive a $20 gift certificate to UNC Student Stores. The winning photo will also be posted to the CCPS website.

Questions? Contact We look forward to seeing how you spent your summer in service!

APPLES intern works with community partner to share message and vision

APPLES intern Caroyn Ebeling East Coast Greenway Alliance 1

By Elise Dilday

A narrow pedestrian bridge stretches across Interstate 40, breaking up the monotony of green exit signs and asphalt.

This bridge, part of the American Tobacco Trail that extends throughout the Triangle, is also part of the larger East Coast Greenway, a 2,900-mile greenway system stretching from Maine to Florida. Carolyn Ebeling ‘17 is currently completing an APPLES summer internship with the nonprofit organization that oversees the maintenance of this greenway, the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA).

Ebeling was first introduced to APPLES when she enrolled in a public relations service-learning course. With a background in women’s studies, Ebeling did not go into her summer internship with extensive knowledge of greenways. She had never heard of the ECGA before applying, but once she did, it quickly became her first choice.

“I wanted to know more about their goal and how they planned to achieve it,” Ebeling said.

Ebeling’s work includes managing the Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts for the Alliance, where she posts about ECGA events. This summer the Alliance is partnering with two youth cycling groups – Triangle Bicycle Works and BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) – that are embarking July 11 on a bicycle tour of the Gullah Geechee Historic Corridor that extends along the coast of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
“The ride is about 770 miles and will take two weeks, and we are doing a lot of press and preparing for that,” Ebeling said.

APPLES intern Caroyn Ebeling East Coast Greenway Alliance 3She also shared that her prior communications experience helps her in this internship. “I feel that communications is one aspect that really allows people to connect with the trail and understand everything that goes into creating a 2,900 mile off-road trail.

“I feel like I am helping the Alliance get its message and vision out to people who may not know about it otherwise.”

Ebeling is interested in pursuing work in the nonprofit sector after graduation. Although she has been most interested in working with a women’s center or rape crisis center in the future, she is now considering working for an environmental nonprofit after her experience this summer.

“I really like the close-knit environment and passion that everyone has for their work,” she said.

Community partners interested in hosting an intern can apply through the APPLES Service-Learning program. Students can apply for spring and summer internships in the fall semester. To learn more about APPLES internships, visit APPLES online.

Students award funds to local nonprofits

By Laura Fisher

Each sDSC_0313pring, a group of UNC students gather in class to learn about philanthropy through the process of awarding $10,000 in grants to local nonprofits that promote health and quality of life in North Carolina communities. In the three-credit hour service-learning course Philanthropy as a Tool for Social Change, students in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program create IMPACT NC, a student-run board that teaches participants about the grant-making process, including researching needs in North Carolina communities, designing grant award criteria, reviewing submissions and ultimately awarding $10,000 to between one and five organizations. The course, offer by the Carolina Center for Public Service and funded by the Learning by Giving Program, is a nationwide program that promotes the study of philanthropy among undergraduates, encouraging them to become thoughtful and effective community leaders.

After learning about the local nonprofit sector through course reading, class exercises and guest speakers, students identify underrepresented populations that they wish to serve through the grant-making process. Students create requests for proposals and review submissions from local nonprofits. At the end of the semester, a final allocation decision is made based on the mission of the nonprofits as well as the impact and requirements of their suggested projects. With $10,000, the student board has the resources to support impactful projects across North Carolina.

“This class has taught me how to be a careful and educated giver so that I can ensure that my donations are being utilized in the most effective ways,” said T.J. Wong ’15, a student in the service-learning course. “It has also given me a genuine sense of fulfillment by providing me with an opportunity to address some of the real issues that communities in North Carolina face.”

This year, four organizations received grants:

  • The Art Therapy Institute received $2,500 to support group art therapy to 33 uninsured refugee students aimed at improving mental health and psychosocial functioning.
  • Communities In Schools of Chatham County (CISCC) received $2,311 to expand its Youth Garden’s activities to include year-­round plant production.
  • Piedmont Health Services, Inc. received $2,433 to purchase mobile equipment to provide children’s dental health services at four community health centers in Alamance County.
  • Vidas de Esperanza received $3,000 to purchase computers and dental supplies free Dental Health Clinic in Siler City, North Carolina.

The course is taught by Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. Blanchard’s background is in education as well as policy, and she has experience directing various community initiatives on both a local and national scale.

Nonprofits interested in the grant application must be 501(C)(3) organizations focused on developing healthy families and communities in underserved populations of Orange, Durham, Chatham, Alamance, Person or Caswell counties. Priority is given to those focused on food security, access to care, health promotion and/or mental health. The next grant period will open in the spring of 2016.

Eleventh class of Buckley Public Service Scholars honored at graduation event

Three hundred and six members of the class of 2015 were honored as Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS) May 8 at a pre-graduation ceremony in Memorial Hall, recognizing the scholars for their years of service at Carolina during their undergraduate careers. To represent their achievement, all graduates will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at commencement on May 10.

Francis Camden 3The program, part of the Carolina Center for Public Service, supports and strengthens Carolina students’ commitment to service by providing students a framework to make a positive impact through service. BPSS participants build portfolios reflecting their learning and unique experiences throughout North Carolina, the nation and the world; connect to others who care about similar issues; and are involved in training and course work that make their service more effective. Launched in 2003, 10 percent of Carolina undergraduates are currently enrolled as BPSS participants. The 2015 class of Buckley Public Service Scholars represent 48 of North Carolina’s counties as well as 24 other states and four other countries. The students being honored join the 1,628 past Buckley Public Service Scholars who have graduated since 2003, bringing the total number of scholars to 1,931.

To receive formal recognition, BPSS participants must have a minimum grade-point average, document at least 300 hours of service, take one service-learning course and attend four skills-training workshops as well as complete a final reflection activity. A number of this year’s graduates surpassed these requirements, completing more than 430 hours of service on average. Six students reported more than 1,000 hours each, and one submitted more than 1,700 hours. As of April 2015, these graduating seniors provided more than 133,500 hours of service.

“Participating in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program expanded my views of the Chapel Hill community while fostering my own passion for social justice,” said Frederick Ferguson, a member of the 2015 graduating class of Buckley Public Service Scholars. “My leadership skills greatly improved through working with the Hargraves Community Center and the students there shaped my years at UNC.

“The BPSS program allowed to me to not only serve my community, but for my community to serve me. I now plan to spend the rest of my life living in service to others.”

Brown Kaylah 2Since its inception, 5,635 students have participated in the BPSS program, contributing 1.43 million hours of service. This year, participating students reported service with more than 1,000 organizations like UNC Hospitals, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, UNC Dance Marathon, Habitat for Humanity and Student U. Of the hours reported by this year’s graduates, 73 percent primarily benefited North Carolina, 13 percent other states and 14 percent other countries.

“Each year, the graduating class of Buckley Public Service Scholars demonstrate the incredible scope and depth of public service and community engagement that is being done at Carolina,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “These seniors have taken public service to new heights through their commitment to serving communities locally, nationally and abroad. They have served an untold number of communities in extraordinary ways and we are extremely proud of what they have accomplished. Moreover, we look forward to seeing the many ways in which these students continue their commitment to public service beyond graduation.”

BPSS is supported through the Walter White Buckley Jr. Endowment. The Center offers a variety of programs that support public service and engagement, providing students, faculty and staff many ways to explore service opportunities, learn new skills and link their academic endeavors to making a difference in the community. For more information about each Buckley Public Service Scholar, visit

Carolina Center for Public Service contact: Rhonda Beatty (919) 843-7568,

2015 Buckley Public Service Scholar graduates by county, state and country. Photos available by request.

Alamance: Erica Bluford, Becca Conary, Raleigh McCoy, Sarah Menz, Sophia Schermerhorn

Bladen: Brittany Hollis

Brunswick: Anna Zeng

Buncombe: Natalie Broadway, Melissa Brown, Mary Everist, Kaitlin Floyd, Paul Parker, Hannah Robinson, Ryan Smith, Cabarrus, Ciara Davis, Erika Lessane, Jasmine Plott, Carteret, Jordan Budget

Catawba: Celia Clark, Rebekah Sturgess

Chatham: Ashley Cairns, Danielle Helgans, Elizabeth Raines, Ramy Sugg

Cherokee: Jennifer Owenby

Cleveland: Megan Eaker

Craven: Aleksander Seymore

Cumberland: Sarah Browning, Casey Collins, Khristian Curry, Dylané Davis, Daron Holman, Meredith Shutt, Jassmin Smith

Davie: Katherine Davis

Duplin: Stephanie Crawford

Durham: Maura Ashton, Cameron Dubois, Sarvani Gandhavadi, Brooke Gardner, Krista Katzenmeyer, Katherine Koller, Sarah Lauffer, Bridget McDonough, Camille Romac-Gullo

Edgecombe: Caroline Leland

Forsyth: Maegan Becker, Cameron Casey, Alexis Duckett, Camden Francis, Wes Hodgin, Margaret Latta, Alice Martin, Nastassja Ortiz, Meghan Peddycord, Victoria Plybon

Gaston: Peter Carter, Reena Gupta, Andrew Nguyen

Guilford: Charity Azorlibu, Frederick Ferguson, Zaharaddeen Garba, Rachel Gentry, Laura Hanson, Sarah Hanson, Paola Isaac Ibe, Madeline Kirby, Kimberly McCullough, Jennell Mcintosh, Dennise Osei-Bonsu, Sotires Pagiavlas, Gabrielle Scott, Neha Verma, Stephanie Wardman, Julia Whitley

Halifax: Ronnell Green, Melanie Lockamon

Harnett: Nakiya Whitfield

Henderson: Joseph Cottingham, Eleanor Crane, Jaehee Yoo

Hertford: South Moore

Iredell: Corinne Goudreault, Persia Homesley, Nauman Panjwani, Courtney Sanders

Johnston: Jessica Carter, Olivia Stevens, Lauren Sutton

Lenoir: Alexander Frankfort

Lincoln: Jamison Zink

Mecklenburg: Cassandra Addamo, Imani Augustus, Adriann Bennett, Monica Bourommavong, Timarie Chan, Tammy Chen, LaCorey Cunningham, Tashana Detwiler, Calvary Diggs, Taylor Fish, Amanda Gaffey, Victoria Ghahhari, Radhika Ghodasara, Megan Hunstad, India Jenkins, Elizabeth Johnson, Shannon Kirchmer, Ishna Koul, Maili Lim, Emmanuella Mensah, Sara Miles, Fahim Nasim, Walid Nasim, Timothy Parsons, Kunal Patel, Shyam Patel, Dominique Pearson, Sarah Pederson, Brianna Ratté, Caley Scheppegrell, Andrea Tam, Chuchitra Thanigaivasan, Madelyn Usher, Anhthu Vuong, Courtney Williams

Montgomery: Rosa Muñoz Aldape

Moore: Landon Sherwood

Nash: Ayat Soufan

New Hanover: Alejandra Galindo, Autumn Hester*, Hannah Jessen, Cassidy Maxwell, Sarah McCullough

Onslow: Tara Summerville, Rachel Tates

Orange: Hannah Allison, Kent Brouwer, Frances Chung, Abigail Dennison, Laura Gilland, Hana Haidar, Catherine Haviland, Janet Keku, Patrick Mateer, Christopher Mook, Kelly Pope, Katie Savage*, Chloe Stephenson, Melissa Tebaldi, Alissa Vanderlinden, Terry Wong, Yue Zhang, Fareeda Zikry

Pasquotank: Jasmin Singh

Person: Kristen Chambers, Amber Majors

Pitt: Kaylah Brown, Louise Mann Clement, Danielle Moloney, Daniela Pimentel

Randolph: Heather Shelton, Asma Warrich

Rowan: Andrea Lambert, Leslie Pence

Rutherford: Shakeia Burgin

Stokes: Ryan Joyce, Osvelia Valverde, Elizabeth Williard

Surry: Samantha McCormick

Union: Samantha Daily, Matthew Lee, Lauren Pritchard

Wake: Hussein Ahmad, Nicole Beatty, Kersey Begany*, William Bennett, Cody Blanton, Taylor Bogart, Erica Brownlow, Jenny Bui, Emerson Cardoso, Lauren Conder, Mackenzie Dolan, Cayce Dorrier, Amber Gautam, Peyton George, Winston George, Nitin Goel, Matthew Guan, Zakeria Haidary, Wilson Hayman, Isabella Higgins*, Jennifer Hiteshew, Lindsey Hooker, Austen Hughes, Karina Javalkar, Amanda Kramer, Catherine Lachapelle, Kate Leonard, Travis Linton, Sallie Lucas, Julia Lukacs, Rizul Naithani, Rani Patel, Olivia Perry, Kara Podraza, Anna Ramsey*, Raerani Reddy, Caitlin Riley, Sarah Spaltenstein, Shannon Spillane, Priya Sreenivasan, Hillary Stroud, Alyssa Townsend, Sara Wachtman, Sarah Ward, Alexandra Welsh, Alexis White, Brenna Yellin, Caroline Zullo

Watauga: Natalie Deuitch

Wayne: Morgan Jeffreys

Wilkes: Mitchell Nash

Yancey: Brittney King

United States
Alabama: Kristina Redd, Molly Williams

California: Sarah Thompson, Paris Vaughn, Frank Wu

Colorado: Casey Crow, Nisha Datta

Delaware: Lynslei Harris

Florida: Sanjana Bhat, Jessica Cabrera, Steven Hartman, Carol Knight, Carter McCormick, Emily Ruffin

Georgia: Kathleen Borden, Zineb Bouzoubaa, Avery Calhoun, Temitope Elutilo-Ayoola, Dakota Foard, Daniel Gehle, Sarah Grady, Katrina Lawrence, Ellen Lesser, Sarah McCauley, Ruhi Rahman, Kaitlin Shinn

Hawaii: Skylar La-Torre-Couch*

Illinois: Kendra Benner, Allison Madonia, Meredith Richard

Iowa: Amanda Sergesketter

Kansas: Gihani Dissanayake

Louisiana: Cheney Gardner

Maryland: Franck Azobou Tonleu, Connor Belson, Kane Borders, Nicholas Dillon, Katrina Hauprich, Charlotte Jackson, Justin Jones, Katherine Jordan, Griffin Lerner, Jennifer McCosby

Massachusetts: Joseph Dayaa, Brendan Leonard, Haniah Lerner

Michigan: Angelica Rankins

Missouri: Raquel Dominguez

New Jersey: Christina Cheng, Sonya Kowalczyk, Sonia Shah, Alyssa Vassallo

New York: Sarah Golan, Michelle Graziosi, Tasia Harris, Sarah Maclean, Paige Sferrazza

Ohio: Aditi Borde, Sarah Lamb, Randi Towns

Pennsylvania: Hannah Bucchin, Emily Cerciello, Alexandra Chir, Mary Liz Entwistle, Stephanie Hess, Zack Kaplan, Alexander Piasecki

South Carolina: Tianna Barnes, Joshua Ellis, Hannah Hollon, Anand Shah, Ellis Sojourner, Collin Williams

Tennessee: Emily Buzhardt, Mary Peeler

Texas: Christin Carpenter, Amish Parikh, Claire Porter

Virginia: Erin Shumate, Shannon Wheeler

Washington, D.C.: Danielle Allyn

Canada: Maximillian Seunik

China: Ziyou Wu

Philippines: Michael Strawser

United Kingdom: Bridget Larman

* Indicates December 2014 graduates.

First Arts in Public Service fellow graduates

By Janell Smith

Aditi BordeAditi Borde ‘15, like 306 other seniors, will graduate as a Buckley Public Service Scholars on May 8.

But Borde is different from the other scholars — she’s the only scholar to graduate from the program’s new Arts in Public Service Fellowship.

In 2014, the Buckley Public Service Scholars program and Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) partnered to create the Arts in Public Service Fellows, a program that encourages students to make a direct impact in their community through the arts.

During her time as an undergraduate student and scholar, Borde has done just that.

“Throughout my experiences of integrating art through public service, I realized art has much more power than it is given credit,” Borde said.

As the first Arts in Public Service Fellow, Borde has directly impacted many communities through her work with the arts. In the service-learning course Service-Learning in America: the Arts and Social Change, Borde engaged in arts-based activities worked with the Art Therapy Institute, an organization of mental health professionals dedicated to the healing power of the arts. Borde also led the first Arts in Public Service Fellows APPLES alternative break in Asheville and served as a volunteer with the Cary celebration of Diwali, a widely celebrated Hindu holiday known as the Festival of Lights. She also danced with UNC’s fusion dance team, Chapel Hill Chalkaa, and served as its president.

Borde said these experiences encouraged her to become a fellow. In her service at the Art Therapy Institute, for example, Borde watched as children used art as a means of self-expression.

“The children in the hospital used iPads to draw — art allowed them to express themselves, release emotions and even use it as a getaway to distract themselves from the reason they were in the hospital,” Borde said.

“Only based on this experience, I realized that the power of art was extraordinary.”

Borde added the Arts in Public Service provided her with unrivaled support from her peers and professors. She would love for other students to have similar experiences with the growth of the program.

“I hope it grows in that more people get involved in different kinds of arts — not only the ‘typical’ art genres,” she said.

“I hope that more theater, dance and creative writing arts students get involved because the most fun part of the fellowship was learning and experiencing the different genres of art that I had never been exposed to.”

Borde hopes her experience as an Arts in Public Service Fellow will allow her to incorporate the arts into her future career as well.

“I witnessed the arts being used as a therapeutic for children,” she said. “As a student going into medicine, I hope to find new ways to incorporate arts in the medical field.”

Bryan Social Innovation Fellow continues to create community

By Carly Swain

Reena-Gupta-spotlightReena Gupta, who will graduate Sunday with a degree in Public Policy from the College of Arts and Sciences, not only immersed herself in the Carolina community over the past four years, she helped create one — through Healthy Girls Save the World.

During her freshman year, Gupta joined the non-profit when it was in its infant stage. After the first few meetings, she jumped in to help create what is now a thriving organization by using three pillars: healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy relationships.

She served on the board of directors and as campus chapter president of the organization, and has attained the goal she set for herself four years ago: to inspire women.

“I’ve always been really big on women’s empowerment, women’s issues, and really advocating social justice issues surrounding women’s rights,” she said. “As a woman of color, it’s something that I’ve always been passionate about. I have seen a few of the struggles, as I’m sure every woman has, and I wanted to learn more about it.”

When she first arrived at Carolina, Gupta considered studying political science and economics. But the daughter of two teachers from Belmont, North Carolina, had a passion for education. And after a little more exploring, she got a taste of public policy.

“For me personally, that public policy major at UNC was the perfect collaboration of political science and economics,” she said.

During her time at Carolina, Gupta earned a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship and she was a Resolution Project Fellow – all while also joining a few dance troupes on campus.

But one of her main focuses was Healthy Girls Save The World.

“It actually took me a while to understand my place and how I could help,” she said of her beginnings with the non-profit. “I remember the first time it clicked for me: we went to a business competition in Atlanta and we had to present. Once I presented, made the pitch and received the feedback, the wheels just started turning for me.”

With a pool of local sixth- to ninth-grade applicants from schools near UNC-Chapel Hill to choose from, Healthy Girls Save The World leaders select 40 to mentor through the academic year.

“We bring these girls on campus, introduce them to female role models, rely on School of Public Health to bring in subject matter experts and do all sorts of fun things with them,” Gupta said. “Our last event was focused on healthy relationships- team building- and after lunch we did healthy relationships with themselves.”

Once her tassel is turned Sunday, Gupta will head to San Francisco where she will complete the New Sector Alliance Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) Fellowship. There, Gupta will be placed in a non-profit to work one-on-one with a mentor learning project management, finance and communication skills.

Part of the commitment means 1,700 hours of service with AmeriCorps. But Gupta will still serve on the board of advisors for Healthy Girls Save The World.

In that role, she hopes to continue to contribute to different communities.

“There are so many aspects of Carolina, so many communities and personalities and diverse communities,” she said. “So, somewhere there is something for you.”

By Carly Swain, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Published May 7, 2015

APPLES alum turned passion into career

When Shelley Gist was assigned as a sophomore to intern at the Carolina Women’s Center, she never knew how much the center and its mission to build gender equity would inspire her career.

What began as a college internship of creating innovative programs to educate the community has turned into a career for Gist as she took over as the center’s program coordinator.

“I fell in love with the center, the people here and the work they were doing on campus,” said Gist, who graduated in 2014. “It’s just been a great place to be. I spent that [first] semester planning programing and ended up never leaving. I loved it so much I just couldn’t leave.”

A Raleigh native, Gist attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to earn a psychology degree with a minor in creative writing. But through an APPLES Service-Learning course with the Carolina Center for Public Service and as a resident assistant, Gist fostered a passion to help others.

The Women’s Center, which focuses on violence prevention, family advocacy, closing gender gaps and gender, difference and diversity, became Gist’s platform to provide a service for the community. She now helps students build their own programs and platforms — like she did as an undergraduate.

“There was no job that was too big or too small for Shelley. She’s got a lot of initiative, but comes at it through the spirit of service,” said Christi Hurt, director of the Women’s Center. “She wants to figure out how to be helpful. She’s not looking for a notch in her belt or something to put on her resume. She’s doing it as a way to benefit the whole Carolina community.”

During the APPLES course, Gist was assigned to the Women’s Center where she helped organize the University’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. From there, she was given the freedom to build her own programs, including the now-popular Alternative Break Experience.

“It wasn’t just that I showed up and they told me what to do,” Gist said. “The staff here was good about letting the students develop their own ideas and then helping give us the resources to implement those.”

Her Alternative Break program “combines what students may be learning in the classroom and having discussions about, and seeing what it looks like in the real world,” Gist said.

In October, a group of eight to 10 students spend fall break in Asheville working with a rape crisis center conducting outreach that helps to train bar staff to recognize drug and alcohol facilitated sexual assault. During spring break, a group travels to New Bern and Wilmington, to learn from rape crisis centers and child-serving organizations.

Gist’s creativity and ability to launch new programs earned her respect within the organization, which only had two full-time employees at the time.

“It’s really important to have a person who can think outside the box,” Hurt said. “What the Women’s Center is really trying to do is be an incubator for people who come and identify issues that they want to address and figure out solutions.”

“As a student coming in with ideas and with the creativity to help identify community need and address it – that’s exactly the kind of initiative the Women’s Center really focuses on and supports.”

As a senior — not thinking joining the Women Center’s staff was a possibility — Gist applied for jobs outside the University, but when a position was created during her final semester she jumped at it.

“This was an opportunity to combine my work as an RA and my work that I had done at the Women’s Center and focus that programming through a gender equity lens,” Gist said. “It felt like the perfect combination of those two things that I was passionate about.”

Gist is now tasked with giving Carolina students the tools they need to develop new programs of their own. As program coordinator, Gist is trying to help ensure that the Center isn’t an unknown for Carolina students like it once was for her.

By partnering with other campus organizations to building connections, the Center aims to grow its programing and continue to educate the community.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that gender is not a barrier to anybody’s success at UNC,” she said.

For more information on UNC-Chapel Hill’s Sexual Awareness Month programs, click here.

By Brandon Bieltz, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship FreshSpire awarded $10,000 for innovating social change


Shraddha Rathod, Hannah Sloan, Gabrielle Beaudry, Jennifer Wu, and Mona Amin (left to right), former students at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, developed a multifaceted notification system and mobile application to notify consumers on the daily markdowns that occur in grocery stores on perishable goods.

By Laura Fisher

During their senior year of high school, five current college first-years came up with an idea to change the food distribution system in North Carolina.

FreshSpire is a mobile app that aims to connect consumers and grocers by alerting nearby shoppers of time-sensitive deals on produce.

Their idea has attracted plenty of attention, recently winning one of the 2015 SECU Emerging Issues Prizes for Innovation at the 30th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, an event in Raleigh that explores innovation and ideas in a variety of sectors. The organization has also been recognized at UNC as a recipient of the 2015 Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship, a program of the Carolina Center for Public Service that is designed for aspiring social change-makers.

“The Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship has been a great space through which to have really important conversations we might not otherwise have,” said Hannah Sloan ‘18, one of FreshSpire’s founders. “It pushes us to be intelligent yet efficient in the ways we approach consensus, decision-making, relationship-mapping and creating metrics of success to evaluate our projects.”

Created by Sloan and fellow UNC student Gabrielle Beaudry ’18, as well as three other students at North Carolina State University, East Carolina University and Harvard, FreshSpire reduces food waste, food insecurity and the amount of food deposited in landfills. By advertising food that would otherwise be thrown away, the app makes food distribution more effective and increases the opportunity for all socio-economic classes to afford a nutritious diet.

“FreshSpire is on the path to development,” said Sloan. “We want to be experts in the problem we are trying to help solve.”

The 2015 SECU Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation awarded FreshSpire $10,000 as a Fan Favorite. The Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship awarded the start-up $1,500 and provides access to professional development funds, leadership training and personal development.

UNC honors 15 individuals and groups for public service

Public Service Award winners, from left, Hana Haidar, Kathleen Gray and Mike Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Public Service Award winners, from left, Hana Haidar, Kathleen Gray and Mike Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill, N.C. – Clean drinking water initiatives, cancer research programs and domestic violence prevention are some of the projects recognized by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during the 2015 Public Service Awards. Sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service, individuals and organizations representing students, faculty, staff and community partners, were honored April 7 at the annual Public Service Awards celebration.

“Public service and engaged scholarship are at the heart of what great public universities aspire to bring to our nation,” said Chancellor Carol Folt who will present the awards. “Each of this year’s recipients have dedicated themselves to serving North Carolina, the United States and the world through public service. We are so proud to honor the meaningful and profoundly impactful work of the individuals and organizations receiving awards today.”

Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government, received the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service for his 37 years of providing and supporting public service within UNC and across North Carolina. He engages with city and county officials across the state to share the School of Government’s existing resources and learn how the School can better meet these public servants’ needs. His approach to mentoring, inspiring and providing opportunities for others to make a positive impact in the community has expanded public service beyond the University and the School of Government.

The center presented three Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, which honor individuals and campus units for public service through engaged teaching, research and partnership.

Gail Corrado, a lecturer in public policy, received the 2015 Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for engaged teaching for her work developing and teaching a public policy senior capstone course. In this course, senior public policy majors complete analytical projects with professional standards for local government and nonprofit organizations.

Claudio Battaglini, an associate professor in exercise and sport science, received the 2015 Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for engaged research. His research examines the effects of exercise training in cancer patients through the UNC Get REAL and HEEL Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Program. The research provides evidence-based exercise training to breast cancer survivors with the goal of alleviating treatment-related side effects and empowering patients to live their lives with the highest possible functional capacity and quality of life.

The Environmental Resource Program in the Institute for the Environment, which works to promote healthy communities across North Carolina by fostering broad support for clean water and improving science literacy among residents, received the 2015 Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for partnership. This award highlights the program’s partnership with the Upper Neuse River Keeper, Lake Crabtree County Park and North Carolina Division of Public Health on successful efforts to protect vulnerable populations from consuming contaminated fish caught in polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)-contaminated waterways.

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recognizes individual students and faculty for exemplary public service efforts. This year’s Bryan awards went go to four individuals and one organization:

Hana Haidar, a senior English and sociology double major from Chapel Hill, North Carolina received the Robert E. Bryan undergraduate student award for her work with the UNC chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a national organization that provides decent and affordable housing for low-income families. For two years, Haidar served as chair of the community outreach committee, developing relationships between UNC student volunteers and the families of Chapel Hill’s Phoenix Place, where Habitat has built homes in recent years. Haidar hosted several community initiatives to promote financial literacy, healthy eating habits, physical activity and art education.

Kristin Black, a maternal and child health doctoral student from Sacramento, California received the Robert E. Bryan graduate student award for her work with Accountability for Cancer Care through Undoing Racism and Equity. This study is a systems-change intervention that optimizes transparency and accountability to achieve racial equity in the completion of cancer treatment among patients with early-stage breast and lung cancer. Black monitored the logistical components of the study and trained others in the Undoing Racism approach that ensures a common language for examining racial disparities in the healthcare system.

Mathilde Verdier, program coordinator at UNC’s Social Innovation Initiative, received the Robert E. Bryan staff award for her work with CUBE, the university’s on-campus social innovation incubator. CUBE helps its participants build critical knowledge through mentorship, expert feedback sessions and skills-building workshops that deliver critical information to early-stage social ventures. At CUBE, Verdier built strategic partnerships to support students, faculty and staff with ideas surrounding some of society’s most pressing issues. Verdier’s work with CUBE allowed several community organizations, including Seal the Seasons, Musical Empowerment and Aquagenx, to make important steps in improving communities.

Bebe Smith, clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work, will receive the Robert E. Bryan faculty award for her work as project director of Critical Time Intervention, a collaborative effort between the UNC School of Social Work and the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. The project helps those with mental illness who are experiencing a critical transition – from homelessness to being housed, from hospital or prison to community, or to foster engagement in mental health treatment after emergence of severe mental illness. The program meets basic needs, aids in recovery and connects participants with appropriate treatment and resources. Smith also engages with state policy makers to expand the program to fill gaps in North Carolina’s mental health and homelessness service systems.

Domestic Violence Advocacy Project received the Robert E. Bryan campus organization award for its work providing free legal services to survivors of domestic violence who seek protection orders. The Domestic Violence Action Project works closely with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Durham Crisis Response Center to foster a line of communication between law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, and University students and professors. The organization is a student-run program at the UNC School of Law in which participating students assist in filing motions for protection orders, accompanying clients to court and educating clients about court proceedings.

The Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary Public Service Awards, named for the late professor of exercise and sport science and long-time member of the Chapel Hill Rotary Club, honors innovative public service projects that represent the “service above self” motto of Rotary International. Three awards were presented:

The United Solar Initiative was founded by a Carolina undergraduate in partnership with Strata Solar. A student team from Kenan-Flagler Business School received this award for their Bringing Electricity to Energy Desserts in Nicaragua project. They will use the award funds to install a solar panel system on a school in Colocondo, Nicaragua, which will generate electricity for the entire community.

Refugee Youth Leadership and Empowerment is focused on youth-led community development and the Hyatt Award will provide support for local youth who are refugees to obtain training as professional interpreters in their native languages meeting a demonstrated need for interpreters in the rare languages represented among local refugee populations. Madelyn Usher, a senior political science major will accept the award.

Classroom to Community is a project affiliated with UNC Student Health Action Coalition that recruits and trains volunteers from UNC Health Affairs graduate schools to provide health education for an underserved school in Durham. Thus, this program not only benefits the elementary school student, it also provides important experience for UNC graduate students.

The Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship is named for the late Mingma Norbu Sherpa, a pioneering conservationist in the Himalaya who served as an official with the World Wildlife Fund. This year’s fellowship will be presented to Andrew Koltun for his work with To the Last Drop: Water System Quality Studies in Rural Uganda. Koltun will travel to four Ugandan villages to test several springs for contaminants. The data collected will be used to decide how to mitigate contamination in the future.

The Davis Projects for Peace Award, funded by the late philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, will be presented to seniors Nicole Fauster and Layla Quran for their work with The Unwelcome Guests: The Case of Migrant Workers in Jordan. Fauster and Quran will raise awareness of the case of migrants in Jordan through educational clinics for University of Jordan students, created to identify and build upon shared attributes between Jordanian citizens and migrant workers. The team will also create a short film consisting of interviews with migrant workers in Jordan, non-government organization workers, lawyers and activists.

In addition to these public service awards, several other groups will be recognized including five Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship teams involving 22 students, five Community Engagement Fellowship projects created by six students and 13 North Carolina Outward Bound scholarship recipients.

The Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship is designed for undergraduate aspiring social change-makers who are interested in providing a significant contribution locally, nationally or internationally through the creation of an entrepreneurial project that addresses a community issue or need. Fellows receive up to $1,500 to launch their project, access to professional development funds, support from APPLES students and staff, and invaluable leadership training and personal development.

The Community Engagement Fellowship awards up to $2,000 each year to selected graduate students to develop and implement engagement or engaged scholarship projects that employ innovative, sustainable approaches to complex social needs and have an academic connection.

Each year, the Carolina Center for Public Service awards North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) scholarships to participants in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program, Carolina Leadership Development program and the School of Education. Recipients receive full tuition to a 28-day course at the North Carolina Outward Bound School.

– Carolina –

Community Engagement Fellow takes social venture to next level

From classroom to freezer

by Melanie Busbee

Will Chapman and Patrick Mateer Seal the SeasonsCarolina students Will Chapman and Patrick Mateer hope to transform the local food market when they launch their line of flash frozen local produce, Seal the Seasons, later this spring.

With the help of Daniella Uslan, project manager at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the 2015 SECU Emerging Issues prize-winning company will be the first in the Piedmont to flash freeze local produce and make it available year-round to retail and institutional partners.

The company’s mission is to expand the market for local farmers while targeting communities that do not have a lot of access to healthy produce – areas commonly called “food deserts.”

“Our business model aims to connect the people who grow food with the people who really need the food,” said Mateer, a 2015 Carolina Bonner Leader who has been a lead volunteer with multiple food relief programs. His research on food insecurity issues shows that food deserts exist because of two major solvable problems in society: the high cost of transportation and the high cost of healthy product.

Seal the Seasons first gained momentum in spring 2013 in a Carolina classroom and in 2014 received a Community Engagement Fellowship from the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Uslan, whose focus is sustainable agriculture and food economies, was enrolled in professor Alice Ammerman’s public health entrepreneurship class in the Gillings School of Global Public Health where a group project inspired her to design a social venture that linked food waste and food access.

“That sort of brainstorming really led me on this trail of thinking more seriously about starting a business,” Uslan said.

To give the idea some legs, Uslan joined UNC’s Launch the Venture business incubation class and enlisted the help of students – Mateer and Chapman, who have since helped push the original idea into an award-winning company – to round out the Seal the Seasons team.

The CUBE, a Campus Y-based hub that supports Carolina social entrepreneurs, provided legal support, mentoring, startup money and office space.

One of the company’s goals is to reduce the total number of miles produce has to travel. Chapman, who is pursuing a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition, said that while North Carolina is rich agriculturally, much of what North Carolinians consume is grown elsewhere.

In its pilot run, Seal the Seasons is working with four local farms, each less than 150-200 acres in size.

“We think it’s important right now to stick with small farmers to increase their capacity and make farming more viable for that segment,” Mateer said.

This spring, as the founders prepare for final exams, they will do a test run – buying vegetables from local farmers, processing and freezing the product, and tweaking packaging specifics and nutritional panels. Greens such as collards and kale will be the first products available in retail outlets that include Weaver Street Market and institutional settings such as hospitals, child care centers and schools.

As part of its operations, a portion (10 percent) of Seal the Seasons profits will be used to place retail product in corner stores – increasing access and combating food insecurity, which is a reality for a growing population in the Triangle. The USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas, which enables users to pinpoint the number of low-income, low-access people in any tract of land within a county, is an interactive way to see just how many real, local people these issues affect.

Plans for expansion include creating local production hubs across the state, particularly in food deserts.

The founders believe Seal the Seasons has the potential to rebuild struggling local food economies by increasing access to locally grown crops and reinvigorating North Carolina as one of the most diverse agricultural states in the nation.

“We are addressing these problems because we feel like it is the right thing to do,” Chapman said. “Seal the Seasons has become an outlet for all these different passions – for human health, for environmental health. It has provided me with a means of applying everything that I have learned in class. That connection between academia and practice is crucial.”

Story and video by Melanie Busbee, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Published: Thursday, April 2, 2015