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The Service-Learning Initiative (SLI) is a unique student-led introduction to service-learning and the local Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. SLI introduces incoming first-year and transfer students to service.


SLI is open to new Carolina students. This program will take place the Wednesday through Friday before classes start. You can apply on the CCPS portal.

SLI participants are also introduced to other campus and community service organizations and become connected with a network of current students who may help during their Carolina experience. Many participants become involved with other components of the APPLES Service-Learning program or choose to be involved with planning and leading future SLI programs. There is a non-refundable fee associated with SLI and need-based financial assistance may be available upon request.


To participate in SLI a student must:

  • Be an incoming first-year or transfer student at Carolina
  • Submit an online application
  • Pay a $50 program fee, once accepted (financial assistance is available)
  • Move into the residence halls on the morning of the Wednesday before classes start
  • Be ready to learn a lot and have tons of fun!

Out-of-state students must attend a University first-year orientation session prior to the program. Students who need financial assistance to participate in SLI should contact APPLES.

What to Expect

The Service-Learning Initiative (SLI) is held for new students the week before classes start. Over the course of three days, students volunteer with different local community partners in small groups, reflect together on their experiences and learn about social issues through various activities.

Throughout the program, participants will be engaging with student leaders who will be able to provide insight into service opportunities at UNC-CH as well as general knowledge on college life. An APPLES T-shirt and meals are included in the cost of participating in the program.


The SLI itinerary usually follows this outline:

Day 1

  • Move into residence halls
  • SLI check-in and introduction
  • Dinner and presentation from site leaders
  • Pre-reflection
  • Social activities

Day 2

  • Breakfast
  • Volunteer with first community partner
  • Lunch
  • Volunteer with second community partner
  • Free time + Intro to Carolina activities
  • Dinner
  • Speaker and activities
  • Reflection session

Day 3

  • Breakfast
  • Volunteer with third community partner
  • Lunch
  • Reflection session
  • “How to Get Involved” session with SLI and APPLES student leaders


SLI incorporates two main reflection sessions – one after the first day of service work and the second at the end of the program. Reflection sessions introduce students to service-learning and encourage them to think critically about the service in which they are participating. Less formal reflection that grows out of participant experiences often occurs throughout the program, as well.

Potential Sites

SLI tries to return to many of the same sites each year in order to maintain relationships with community partners. Many partners are connected to other components of the APPLES Service-Learning program, as well. Past community partners have included Battle Park, Carolina Campus Community Garden, Club Nova, IFC HomeStart, Orange County Schools, TABLE and SECU Family House.

For more information, contact APPLES.

Still have questions? Check out our SLI FAQ.


Applications for SLI are currently open. Apply online through the CCPS Application and Nomination Portal. Email APPLES with questions.


The Carolina Center for Public Service at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for its events and programs. If you need accommodations, please contact or call 919-962-0902. Every reasonable effort will be made to implement accommodations in an effective and timely manner.