If you’re a student at Carolina, and especially if you’re a first-year student, this blog’s for you.
Nothing’s quite as exciting as a new school year here at Carolina. The new classes you’ll take, the new people you’ll meet, the places you’ll go.
Wait a minute, you’re saying. Didn’t he get the memo about the tanking economy and all the state budget cuts?
Yes, I did. In fact, I wrote the memo about the economy here on campus. But we have been working hard here at Carolina to make sure that the budget cuts we have had to make will have as little effect on the student experience as possible. Faculty and staff in every department have tightened their budgets and made sacrifices so that we can continue to offer the outstanding classes, seminars, research opportunities and study abroad experiences that students expect of a Carolina education. We have increased enrollments and expanded class sizes so that we can maintain the usual number of seats available. And in some cases, we actually have more spots available than in the past. Our first priority in this sometimes painful process has been to protect the academic experience.
Three vital parts of that experience are celebrating 10th anniversaries this year – the First Year Seminar program, the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Carolina Center for Public Service – and I encourage you to take advantage of them all. First Year Seminars allow new students to work in an intimate setting with top faculty on intriguing topics. The mentored, self-directed work done in the Undergraduate Research program is an experience rarely offered at the undergraduate level. The Carolina Center for Public Service promotes scholarship and service through it Public Service Scholars program as well as grants and fellowships for faculty and students.
Even in these lean economic times, we’re still offering great cultural experiences on the cheap. The music department sponsors free performances year-round by faculty, students and visiting artists. Our Ackland Art Museum charges nothing for admission to its wonderful shows and galleries. And Memorial Hall and PlayMakers offer students deep discounts to their world-class shows. Did you know you can score tickets to see Sonny Rollins, Bela Fleck, Alvin Ailey and the London Philharmonic for just 10 bucks? And don’t forget the free flicks at the Carolina Union, too.
When you graduate, it’s a near certainty that someone will give you a copy of Seuss, Dr.; Oh, The Places You’ll Go! You might get more than one. But the advice in there is maybe even better for the beginning of school than the end:
Kid, you’ll move mountains ….
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
(Relax: although campus dining has increased options for local foods, I haven’t asked Ramshead to start serving green eggs and ham.)