Red Zone Initiative Launch

August 20, 2019

The Red Zone Initiative: The What, The Why, The How

By Malin Curry, Undergraduate Secretary

What is It?

The Red Zone. A period of time between the months of August to November, during which sexual assaults on college campuses are statistically more likely to occur, specifically to female identifying first year students. The number of reported assaults on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus grows annually creating a need for a collective force to raise awareness and fight this staggering statistic. 

Enter the Red Zone Initiative. A coalition of student organizations housed within the Undergraduate Exec Branch that is working to do precisely this by hosting various activations, providing students with resources and working to #ReclaimtheRedZone.

This year, organizers of the Initiative have plans to deepen the impact it makes on campus. According to Serena Singh, co-director of the Red Zone Initiative, past iterations of the Initiative have been event focused and have not yielded lasting success.

“We are really focused on connecting with campus organizations that already do things in this realm well,” she said. “It’s less about events and more focused on making a lasting impact even beyond the time the Red Zone occurs.”

The central themes of the Red Zone Initiative are: affirmative consent, what it means to be an active bystander and how not to perpetrate. Singh said these themes drove decisions leadership made while planning.

The goal of the Initiative according to Lucy Russell, a senior studying Public Policy, is to eradicate the Red Zone entirely. She believes this can be accomplished by emphasizing this year’s themes. Themes that students can expect to see represented in all future activations concerning the Red Zone Initiative.

“UNC should be free of all gender-based violence, so we are utilizing the Red Zone period to raise awareness about affirmative consent and how to take care of each other,” she said.

Arts and Activism

Leadership enlisted the help of Arts Everywhere, an initiative that seeks to make art a part of the daily culture and life of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Together, they will be releasing a joint arts and activism exhibit in October to highlight Red Zone efforts in a creative way.

“The arts is such an interesting medium for this project, as it aids in advocacy efforts as well as provides a space for healing for survivors,” said Gayathri Raghavendra, Arts Everywhere Student Lead. “In the next few months, you’ll see some public art relating to the Red Zone.”

Like Singh, Raghavendra wants to ensure the impact she makes is long lasting. She plans to make the exhibit available on digital platforms shortly after its release, allowing students to access it for years to come.

“Every single student has been a bystander at some point in their college career and to ignore this glaring problem within our own campus community would be not only irresponsible, but abhorrent. In addition, it is incredibly important to support survivors and be as supportive of a community as possible to help aid in any way,” she said. 

Other Activations

Leadership is also working to plan a Town Hall on sexual assault, bring in activists to lead bystander and survivor’s healing art workshops, developing merchandise set to be released later and working on a social campaign to continue spreading the word.

According to Singh, these new additions are important to the longevity of the Red Zone Initiative, as the Red Zone is something that should remain relevant even after November. She, along with Kelley Traynham, co-director of the Red Zone Initiative, are working to ensure that this year’s activations engage students.

“Sexual assault has been an issue impacting our campus which is why the Red Zone Initiative is crucial,” said Traynham. “Our leadership team is made up of almost entirely women, and it’s so empowering to be able to work on something like this that specifically impacts women and see some tangible change. It is my desire  that through student government we’ll be able to keep this Initiative moving forward to show that this year’s administration will always fight for justice and improving the life of others.” 

Stay tuned for more updates concerning the Red Zone Initiative via all our social platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and website. For more information and additional resources visit and check out the graphics below. 

Ali Farahnakian Joins Branch for General Body Meeting

March 6, 2018

The Adkins Administration welcomed Ali Farahnakian, former SNL writer and recent Chapel Hill business venturist, to their General Body Meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Farahnakian is opening the Peoples Improv Theater on Franklin Street in the coming weeks.

Ali led the group in multiple improv workshops, to include a “zip, zap, zop” and “pet peeves.” “Zip, zap, zop” encouraged both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as confidence and friendly competition. “Pet peeves” incorporated members of the Branch being assigned a “pet peeve” and then ranting about it when given the chance onstage next to 5 of their peers. Ali directed the 6 students as if they were a symphony: muting them and unmuting them as the orchestra went along.

Ali’s experience in these workshops made him a perfect candidate for the goal of the Branch’s General Body Meetings: to provide information and professional development to members of the Branch.

The meeting ended with Ali’s advice to the Branch during a Q&A.

Thanks to Ali for joining the Adkins Administration!

Carolina Roundtable: Love Yourself Photo Campaign

March 2, 2018

Exams can be a stressful time for many students. Carolina Roundtable understands this, and used it as the inspiration for their recent event: The Love Yourself Photo Campaign. Members of Carolina Roundtable stood in The Pit, holding a white board with the phrase “I love myself because…” written at the top and space below for students to fill in what they love about themselves. With this campaign, Carolina Roundtable encouraged students to take a break from the stress of exams and appreciate themselves.

Some responses that students wrote include “I love myself because…my ambition,” “I love myself because…grades don’t define me,” and “I love myself because…I can make gingerbread houses.” This campaign positively impacted students by allowing them to take the time to appreciate themselves.

2018 African University Leadership Exchange Program Details Announced

March 1, 2018

The Special Projects sub-committee of the Undergraduate Executive Branch is excited to announce the second annual African University Leadership Exchange Program which will take place at UNC from April 6th through 15th.

What is the African University Leadership Exchange Program?

Last year, we brought 8 students from 5 different African countries to a leadership summit on student governance here at UNC. Read about it here on the DTH, or check out our website. It was an incredible week of exchange of ideas, cultural comparisons, and learning from one another — and this year, we’re doing it again!

That sounds amazing! How can I get involved?

As you might guess, it takes a lot of dedicated people to make this awesome program work. Our application to volunteer is due Friday, March 9th. We have three main ways for you to get plugged in:

  1. Be a HOST: Have a guest bedroom, extra futon, or a pullout couch you are willing to share? A visiting student would love to stay with you! They would only need the space at night as they will have programming throughout the day. You will need to provide ample space and be a responsible host (i.e. no going out every night, making sure they can communicate with you to get in and out etc.)! Students living on and off campus are eligible to host.
  2. Be a BUDDY: You will be paired with a visiting student and serve as a resource for them by letting them come to a class, spending some free time with you, swiping them in or sharing a meal, and being a source of contact during the day. This can be based off of your availability, but your main role is to give the student a glimpse of what it looks like to be a student at UNC, while learning more about their life in Africa!
  3. Be a BEHIND-THE-SCENES VOLUNTEER: Can’t host or be a buddy but still want to help? Shoot us an email! We still need help reaching out to donors, coordinating schedules for activities, and driving students to and from the airport.

In order to be considered as a buddy or a host, you must apply by Friday, March 9th at 11:59pm. You can access the application here. Note that you must attend a mandatory orientation session on either Wednesday, March 21st from 7:15-8pm or Thursday, March 22nd 5-6pm.

If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Special Projects Co-Chairs Jessie Keener or Madison Ramsey

UNC to Host Kathy Izard for Annual Eve Marie Carson Lecture

January 1, 2018

The Speakers Committee of the UNC Executive Branch is excited to welcome author and activist Kathy Izard to UNC-Chapel Hill to speak as a part of the Eve Marie Carson Lecture series. She will give the annual Eve Marie Carson Lecture at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The event is free and open to the public.

Izard is the founder of Moore Place, a home for chronically homeless men and women in Charlotte, and author of The Hundred Story Home, a book about finding faith in yourself and in something bigger. A native of El Paso, Texas, Izard graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in the advertising and graphic design business for many years. Inspired by Denver Moore, and the book he co-authored – Same Kind of Different as Me – Izard decided to dedicate herself to developing Charlotte, NC’s only Housing First program for the chronically homeless in 2007. After raising more than $10 million for the initiative, Moore Place opened in 2010.

About the Eve Marie Carson Lecture

2007-2008 UNC Student Body President, Eve Carson, believed strongly that one of the most fun and valuable parts of the Carolina experience was attending lectures on campus. Thus, in her student body president campaign platform, Eve said she wanted to “create an endowment for speakers who will enrich and challenge the entire student body. This endowment will be used to develop a renowned speaker series that can draw the sort of speakers that often attend private schools.”

Eve’s vision was first established as the Distinguished Speaker Series, a special project of UNC Student Government. The series was later renamed in her honor and memory as the Eve Marie Carson Lecture Series. Since its creation, the lecture series has hosted distinguished persons such as Elizabeth Edwards, Greg Mortenson, Fatou Bensouda, Mika Brzezinski, Robert Gibbs and Jonathan Reckford, Ping Fu, and Rye Barcott.

The lecture series continues to operate as a completely student-run and student-led effort with the primary goal of bringing nationally and internationally renowned figures—men and women who have distinguished themselves through their ideals and accomplishments—for the purpose of stimulating a campus-wide dialogue about important contemporary issues to UNC-Chapel Hill. The Carolina Women’s Leadership Council sponsors the Eve Marie Carson Lecture.

Student Government Spreads Selflessness During Holiday Season

December 1, 2017

The Undergraduate Student Government’s First Year Focus Council (FYFC) hosted a “Friendsgiving” fundraiser to benefit Operation Christmas Child. Members of FYFC set up a booth in The Pit November 13th-15th, and sold candy grams and cards for $1.00 to students. This project aimed to encourage gratitude in the season of Thanksgiving, while benefiting children in need at the same time.

The Executive Branch’s Community Service Committee collaborated with FYFC to host two benefits for Operation Christmas Child. On November 16th, the Community Service Committee partnered with Tama Tea to create a day dedicated to helping children all over the world during Christmas-time, with 15% of all the proceeds donated directly to the cause. A benefit night at Tru Deli and Wine Bar on November 26, 2018 allowed 10% of all the proceeds to go towards Operation Christmas Child.

In preparation for the holiday season, both FYFC and the Community Service Committee teamed up on December 4th to package supplies for the organization itself. Students and faculty were invited to The Pit to join members of the Executive Branch, spreading holiday cheer and making an impact on the lives of others by preparing boxes to be sent overseas.

Operation: End Hunger HomeStart Care Package Assembly

November 29, 2017

On Saturday, November 18th, Operation: End Hunger held a care package assembly event outside CVS Pharmacy on Franklin Street from 12:00pm-3:00pm. The event was in partnership with a local shelter called HomeStart. The shelter seeks to provide “a safe, structured home for homeless women and families, helping them to access community resources and offering everyone on-going support to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.” HomeStart offers shelter to women who are homeless for a variety of reasons, including: domestic violence, eviction, low-paying jobs, unemployment, mental illness, and substance abuse. The shelter provided a list of products that are most needed by its residents.

During the event, shoppers at CVS were encouraged to purchase items from the list to donate to HomeStart. There was also an assembly table where participants could put together a care package and sign their name on it. Each care package also included a nice message for the recipient.

Operation: End Hunger received $250 worth of donations to HomeStart. In total, twenty care packages were assembled. Each contained a toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, soap, and lotion. Additionally, Operation: End Hunger received four boxes of tampons (about ninety tampons in total) and two bags of diapers (about sixty tampons in total). The generous donations are sure to make a difference for the residents of HomeStart.

Carolina Roundtable Honor Court Event

November 28, 2017

On Tuesday, November 7th, Carolina Roundtable held a discussion with UNC’s Honor Court. All students were invited to ask questions and learn more about the Honor Court. Some questions that were asked include “do students learn more from severe sanctions?”, “how might the Honor System be different for international students and U.S. citizens?”, and “are there any ways the Honor System can work with professors to prevent violations?”

The Honor Court also took feedback and suggestions from students. The general consensus was that students believe there should be more education about the Honor System and honors violations. Students wanted to be more educated on what exactly the Honor COurt does and what is regarded as plagiarism. A particular interest was placed on transfer and international students. There was a suggestion of an “Honor Court Day” to raise awareness about the system. Additionally, some students suggested a seminar taught about the Honor System, or a module on the subject that would be part of the required English 105 class. A third suggestion was color coding online assignments to denote the levels of cooperation that are allowed.

The Honor Court welcomed all ideas and suggestions. They explained that they are trying to expand their reach to the student body–especially international and transfer students–and to many more educational departments. Carolina Roundtable’s event was an interesting and insightful conversation with the Honor Court.

Operation: End Hunger Grab & Go Event

November 7, 2017

On Monday, October 30th, Operation: End Hunger held an event in the quad. At the event, called Grab & Go, members of Operation: End Hunger handed out Halloween candy with facts and information about food insecurity written on the wrappers; the purpose of this event was to educate and raise awareness for food insecurity.

Students that visited the event and Operation: End Hunger volunteers described it as a fun time. The event tapped into people’s passion for others, and effectively helped raise awareness for food insecurity. Many students were gracious for the event because it provided a way for them to get more involved in helping the fight against food insecurity.

Candidates Come to UNC for Panel

October 30, 2017

The UNC Young Democrats brought together candidates in Chapel Hill’s municipal election for a candidate panel on Thursday evening. The event took place in Manning Hall and was presented in cooperation with the Campus Y, CHispA, Feminist Students United, UNC NAACP, and Undergraduate Student Government. Candidates for Town Council, as well as Mayor Pam Hemminger, had the opportunity to answer questions from both UNC Young Democrats and audience members. The goals of the panel were to allow student voters to make more informed decisions in municipal elections, create a dialogue between the campus and town government, and increase voter turnout in municipal elections.

Jacob Greenblatt, the president of UNC Young Democrats, acted as the moderator for the panel. He first asked the candidates to give opening statements, which revealed their broad range of experience from long-time Town Council members to University professors hoping for a first term. All candidates, though, had some connection to UNC.

Two questions from the Young Democrats followed the opening statements. The first was about policies that the candidates would champion that impact students. Answers ranged from stronger economic development to sustainable infrastructure, but all candidates emphasized collaboration between the University and town government. “We’re in this together—this is our town,” said Pam Hemminger, who is running unopposed to keep her position as mayor. This sentiment was also echoed in candidates’ answers to the second question, which was about how they would consider student input in their decisions as Town Council members.

Audience questions focused on more specific policies: the town’s interaction with UNC’s Blueprint for Next and the candidates’ plans to create more affordable housing in Chapel Hill. While University-affiliated candidates had interacted with Blueprint for Next, others expressed frustration that they had not been included in the process of realizing the University’s strategic vision. All candidates, though, had plans to create more affordable housing in Chapel Hill.

You can find the full video of the candidate panel here. Summaries of candidates’ answers to questions will be posted soon.

Early voting is at Chapel of the Cross at 304 East Franklin Street through November 4th. Check out the early voting schedule and a sample ballot. If you have not yet registered to vote, you may register on-site during early voting.