Flashback Friday: How to be social without drinking

This blog post was originally published on September 24, 2015.

Feel like social life revolves around drinking?


Here are 10 alcohol-free ways to have fun in the Triangle.
(TIP: Always ask about a student discount!)

  1.  Host or attend a game night FREE
  2. Join an intramural sports team FREE
  3. Group outing to the theatre! FREE-$$$
  4. Go ice skating or bowling $$
  5. Join a student organization FREE
  6. Check out a local farmer’s market over the weekend FREE
  7. Attend local community events FREE-$$$
  8. Check out student group performances (search category: performance) FREE-$
  9. Learn a new dance/go out dancing (all types of dancing) FREE-$
  10. Watch an outdoor movie or a CUAB movie (seasonal) FREE-$
“Movies Under the Stars” in Downtown Chapel HIll

Or, maybe you want to go to parties and just not drink!

Have you ever been out trying to have some alcohol-free fun, and people won’t stop  bugging you? Here are some ideas of things to say, but they are dependent on your personality type, individual needs, or safety/comfort concerns!

  1. “I’m not drinking tonight, but thank you!”
  2. “I’m good for now, I just had one.”
  3. “I’m taking it easy tonight.”
  4. “I have to wake up early tomorrow/study, etc.”
  5. “I’m driving home tonight.”
  6. “I’m the designated driver tonight.”
  7. “I’m just trying to be a bit healthier right now.”

Not a talker? No worries! There are other ways to ward off peer pressure, again – dependent on your personality type, individual needs, or safety/comfort concerns. For example, some people have suggested holding a drink in their hand and not actually drinking, drinking alcohol-free drinks (like a rum and coke….minus the rum), or attending a party as a sober attendee and playing the games either with water or an alcohol-free drink!

Media Literacy III: White-Washing, Misrepresentation, and Implicit Bias

In case you missed all the hoopla about the movie Aloha (like here, here, here, and here), don’t worry – the 3rd blog post of the Media Literacy Series explains the lack of people of color we see on the big screen.

The case with Aloha? They made a super odd decision to cast the blonde-haired, white-skinned Emma Stone as Hawaiian, Chinese, mixed heritage Allison Ng.

Image courtesy of http://www.teasers-trailers.com

Here’s what’s up.

This is a pretty classic case of Hollywood white-washing and misrepresenting other cultures, races, and ethnic groups. When we look at all forms of media, the television and movie industry has a particularly bad habit of having overwhelmingly white casts, even if the characters’ whiteness does not add to the characterizations or plotlines. In fact, a lot of characters on television could be portrayed by people of color, but that just does not happen. Instead, you get white people playing white people or passing as light-skinned racial and ethnic groups. People of color get stuck with non-series regular roles, the sidekick/best friend/less significant roles, or roles that play off stereotypes.

Image courtesy of http://www.ramascreen.com

And this happens all the time.

These patterns are well-established. For example, African men are portrayed as inherently violent, and Indians are portrayed as nerdy or overly sexual. People of color are generally misrepresented or invisibilized in movies.

Moment of Reflection: If this is what we see all of the time, do you think this could affect how we view students of color at UNC? How could this impact the way students of color view themselves?

Why don’t directors cast people of color?

People are less likely to go see a film or watch a television series about a Person of Color protagonist. And directors fear this. They want to capitalize on the fact that audiences are drawn to productions that have the face of a (famous) white person. Even Jenji Kohan took advantage of this, and I think she did it brilliantly!

And these rules are written and institutionalized. A 2011 licensing agreement between Sony and Marvel, which share the rights to the Spider-Man character, lists a series of traits to which Peter Parker must legally conform. Despite the fact that Spider-Man is totally made up and can literally be ANYONE…this character is legally restricted to being a white, straight male.

Moment of Reflection: Would you have tuned in for the 1st season of Orange is the New Black if this was the promotional poster?

Image courtesy of from s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Why does this happen?

There’s this thing called reciprocal determinism which basically means that there is a dual relationship between us and our environment, in that we affect the environment that in turn affects us. So, the media shows us what they think we want to see, and by spending our money and time on their shows, we in turn tell the media what we want to see. The media reflects and reinforces societal and institutional patterns of injustice. Mostly, this act is implicit. We don’t go around explicitly stating that we love seeing white people on TV (at least, I hope not!). We are fed messages daily about how we live in a white normative and white ideal society, and many us don’t realize that or choose to ignore it! This can lead to implicit bias:

“Most of us have implicit bias that can impact our behavior and understanding. Although most of us are completely unaware of its influence on our subconscious, these biases affect how we perceive, interpret, and understand others’ actions. Because these attitudes, unrecognized on the conscious level but powerful at the subconscious level, individual and institutional discrimination can occur even in the absence of blatant prejudice, ill will, or animus.”

– John A. Powell, “Postracialism or Targeted Universalism?” Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, May-June 2010.

Moment of Reflection: How do you see your own implicit bias playing a role on UNC’s campus or within your relationships?

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Let’s revisit that phrase “unrecognized on the conscious level but powerful at the subconscious level.” We have to work against this process and deconstruct the way we think so that the messages can be recognized on the conscious level, like when we see instances of white-washing and misrepresentation – whether it’s on magazine covers, billboards, advertisements, TV, movies, etc.

What should we do about all of this?

Public Outrage!! I’m kidding, to an extent. We all do need to critically engage with media and actively recognize moments of social injustice. We also need to continue these public conversations, whether it’s through blogs, public forums, petitions, you name it! People notice when we do this. In fact, the director of Aloha issued an apology (though it’s more of an excuse/justification in my opinion…). Networks are also adding more shows with strong roles for people of color like Blackish, Fresh off the Boat, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Jane the Virgin, and Empire. Hashtag trends like #OscarsSoWhite got the attention of people in leadership and now we’re going to be seeing some real awesome changes around diversity in Hollywood because of the Academy’s effort to double the number of women and people of color by 2020!

And of course, there’s this:

Image courtesy of lh3.googleusercontent.com

The more we can show the world that we notice, CARE, and can articulate WHY all of this matters, we can reshape conversations about race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. and take steps to creating lasting change.


Niranjani Radhakrishnan received her BSPH from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill in 2013. She is currently a Program Assistant for Health Promotion and Prevention Initiatives at Student Wellness. She is also in graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill pursuing two masters degrees: Health Behavior and City and Regional Planning with an emphasis in environmental justice, health equity, and spatial analysis using GIS.

Get the Most Out of Your Fitness Tracker

You just got a brand new fitness tracker over the holidays to help you fulfill your New Year’s Resolution for 2016, and you are:

  1. Super intimidated by all of the fancy functions and not really sure how to connect it to your smartphone or if your tracker even has that capability
  2. Jealous of your friend who was able to financially afford a more expensive or fancier name-brand version and having doubts that your tracker will leave you disappointed
  3. Nervous that you might develop some unhealthy habits or mindsets because of your fitness tracker
  4. Some or all of the above
  5. [Insert how you’re in the comments section!]

Then take a moment and breathe and read on for some tips on how to incorporate your tracker into your life in a safer way.

Image courtesy of livescience.com.

Disclaimer: I use a fitness tracker, so I’ll be basing a lot of my advice off my own experiences as well as from what I’ve observed and learned from UNC college students. You’ll also find some links to data or resources — so click away!

A: Super intimidated by all of the fancy functions and not really sure how to connect it to your smartphone or if your tracker even has that capability

Tip: Find others who also use a tracker. Use social support!

In general, social support is associated with people being able to better cope with stress and an enhanced psychological well-being. There is a lot of evidence out there that already shows how crucial social support is for health education and health behavior. The American Council on Exercise notes that people with strong social support are more successful at lifestyle changes than those who do not have strong social support. You can take the 1st step and link up your tracker with others. Often times, your tracker has a function built-in that uses your phone contacts or social media friends to do that step for you — take advantage of this! Once you’re linked up, you can chat with your tracker friends and help each other learn the ins and outs of this new tech gadget. Together, you can take steps to incorporate fitness into both of your lives.


B. Jealous of your friend who was able to financially afford a more expensive/fancier name-brand version and having doubts that your tracker will leave you disappointed

Tip: Learn the strengths of your specific tracker and align them with your individual health goals.

It can be very easy to compare yourself with others, especially at a place like UNC. A lot of us have done this, including myself! With fitness, it’s especially important to devise YOUR OWN goals. What’s motivating your friend to be healthy might be very different than your motivation, and that’s totally okay! The fitness tracker you have might be absolutely perfect for what you’re trying to accomplish. If you find yourself wishing it did more and wanting to spend more money on a different product, try to find some creative ways of using your tracker by consulting with a health professional. Here are two examples:

  1. You own a simple step tracker, but you also have a health condition that requires a more tailored diet or fitness regimen. Your device may not tell you how many calories you’re burning, so speak to a health professional. They can help you figure out what your individual target goal should be based on your diet, physical activity, and health requirements. Knowing that about 2000 steps equate to 1 mile of walking, you can now approximate what number you should aim for on your step tracker to meet your caloric goal.
  2. Your device does not allow you to monitor food intake. After speaking to a health professional, you might decide that your personal health goal is to challenge yourself to make smaller changes in your life to strive for an overall healthier lifestyle. You can use your tracker as a cue to action to remind yourself to, for example, walk or bike to class more often, take the stairs rather than the elevator when you have a chance, or take three, deep, mindful breaths before you go to sleep at night.
eric forman house
Dr. Eric Foreman from TV show ‘House’; Image courtesy of housemd-guide.com.

C. Nervous that you might develop some unhealthy habits or mindsets because of your fitness tracker

Tip: Remember social support? It works here too! Find an accountability buddy.

In my experience of working at UNC Student Wellness and being an advocate for health promotion, this is a topic that often comes up when people speak to me about fitness trackers. Fitness trackers are a great innovation; however, there are some *trigger warning….* physical health and mental health risks  associated with increased use of fitness trackers such as disordered eating, orthorexia, and exercise addiction. If you feel like you might be developing some of these habits, please reach out to UNC Campus Health Services. 

Linking up to an accountability buddy can be extremely helpful and promote safety. You and your buddy can keep each other in check by giving each other permission to bring up any issues of concern.


Here are some signs to look out for in each other, according to the UC Davis Association for Body Image Disordered Eating:

  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Binge eating
  • Dieting and/or purging behaviors
  • Excessive, purposeless, physical activity that goes beyond a usual training regimen

Visit the UNC Campus Health page to learn more about recognizing signs and symptoms of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in people of all genders.

I want to note that the idea of ‘excessive’ is of course, relative. However, you and your buddy can talk about this together and come up with a plan to recognize signs specific to your bodies, inspired by what signs are advised by health professionals.

Remember that all in all, your fitness tracker should lead you to make everyday decisions that help you more easily incorporate fitness into your lives. Good luck and be well, Tar Heels!


Niranjani Radhakrishnan received her BSPH from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill in 2013. She is currently a Program Assistant for Health Promotion and Prevention Initiatives at Student Wellness. She is also in graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill pursuing two masters degrees: Health Behavior and City and Regional Planning with an emphasis in environmental justice, health equity, and spatial analysis using GIS.

Media Literacy Series Part II: What’s going on in ‘Orange Is The New Black’

Welcome to Part 2 of the Media Literacy blog series! Like I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I challenge myself to think about what I’m watching, and relate these ideas back to my experience as a straight, able-bodied, Woman of Color at UNC.

In this post, we’re going to relate some media literacy skills to one of my absolute favorite shows, Orange Is The New Black (OITNB).

I am a huge fan of OITNB for many reasons. Obviously, the show is comprised of a superbly talented and diverse cast. In fact, I become so enthralled in the show that sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that OITNB is fiction —it should not be my go-to for facts about women’s prisons — the show is fiction with elements that have been dramatized for the sake of drama and entertainment. That being said, I absolutely loved this last season!

If you haven’t watched Season 3 yet, RELAX. This post contains NO SPOILERS for this season and is actually tailored for you. Read on if you want some cool tips for watching this season through a MEDIA LITERACY LENS:

promo poster

1. References to “White Culture”

This is something that usually goes unnamed; however, OITNB is not afraid of calling things what they are. Recognizing elements of white culture and whiteness is crucial to understanding privilege. In previous seasons, this included a glorious exchange about “white people politics” between Poussey and Taystee. Look for more of this in Season 3.


2. Multidimensional Characters

Let’s be real. Season 1 episode 1 started off depicting a privileged, white woman as the center of focus of the show, and we slowly started getting introduced to other characters from her perspective, often in the form of stereotypes. Now the show is more about the amazing women. The creator of the show, Jenji Kohan, has explained that she needed to do this in order to attract an audience that may have otherwise not been interested in a show about strong women of color.

The writers have created very intricate storylines to show a range of experiences around being black, trans, queer, white, etc. in a way that resonates with so many people. The show pushes against common misunderstandings that people have about social identities they do not share. For example, first they casted Laverne Cox, a trans woman of color, as a trans woman of color. This does not happen often, which in itself says a lot about media portrayals. Second, the show shatters misconceptions about trans relationships by portraying her as having been in a loving heterosexual marriage.

OITNB shows how the women’s social identities have shifted, transformed, and made them who they are today, while simultaneously debunking racial and gender stereotypes. Their back stories also might catch you off guard because it’s not what you were expecting. Notice that feeling when it happens this season and ask yourself, “What was I expecting and why?”


3. Cross-cultural/cross-racial relationships

You have the interpersonal relationships, of course (i.e., friendships, sexual relationships, etc.). But there is also the larger organizational (structure within the prison) and community level relationships. The prison itself is separated in terms of race, and it brings a lot of questions into mind:

  • What are the dynamics between and among racial groups?
  • Is separation by race good or bad?
  • What makes people feel more safe, comfortable, and accepted?

I ask these questions because on UNC’s campus, I’ve heard conversations about self-segregation. Have you ever heard someone ask, “Why are all the _____ people all hanging out together?” How often do we hear “white” in there? Not often. This show depicts some very interesting tensions, relationships, and conversations around race that mimic what people say in the real world and may provide some context (or at least a different perspective) about race relations. This might look like conversations about feeling safe and protected, highlighting moments of ignorance, or mimicking real-world conversations around stereotypes, for example. So, look forward to these conversations this season!


These are just a few things to pay attention to when you spend your Winter Break watching OITNB. This does not mean you have to be a snob and get together with a bunch of academics to critique every line of the show. It can be as simple as watching the shows as you regularly do, recognizing patterns, quickly naming it in your head, and moving on. That simple act is enough to start thinking about identity, power, and privilege. Because by critically engaging with media, we can reshape conversations about race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. and take steps to creating lasting change.


Niranjani Radhakrishnan received her BSPH from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill in 2013. She is currently a Program Assistant for Health Promotion and Prevention Initiatives at Student Wellness. She is also in graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill pursuing two masters degrees: Health Behavior and City and Regional Planning with an emphasis in environmental justice, health equity, and spatial analysis using GIS. 

Media Literacy Series Part I: Wait, Media…what?

WELCOME (BACK) TO CAROLINA!! You’re about to encounter the best (and most challenging) years of your life, and we here at Student Wellness want to make sure that you’re finding time for yourself amidst all of that homework, professional opportunities, socializing, student orgs, and all things COLLEGE.

Seven (Wow, it’s been seven years??) years ago, I was a first-year at Carolina. I had NO idea what the next 4 years of my life would hold. Looking back, I can say that I learned A LOT. And not all of that learning happened in the classroom. One of the most important skills that I’ve learned over the past few years is media literacy (especially while I worked for Student Wellness’s Interactive Theatre Carolina peer group).

Students playing a theatre game called

That’s cool. But what is media literacy?

According to the Media Literacy Project, it “is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media… [and] takes into account history, culture, privilege, and power.” This means people with media literacy skills learn to:

  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Understand how media messages shape our culture and society
  • Identify target marketing strategies
  • Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do
  • Name the techniques of persuasion used
  • Recognize bias, spin, misinformation, and lies
  • Discover the parts of the story that are not being told
  • Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, skills, beliefs, and values
  • Create and distribute our own media messages
  • Advocate for a changed media system

What is NOT media literacy?

I watch TV for reasons like everyone else — because it’s entertaining! Media literacy does not mean you cannot enjoy what you’re watching. Neither is it a reason to judge people for watching what they do. I want to emphasize this point. You can still watch your “bad TV’ or guilty pleasure shows and feel great about it! I certainly do…

Photo that reads

But I also think about who’s being portrayed, whose stories are told, if the plot line mirrors larger societal patterns, or what stereotypes are employed for humor. I challenge myself to think about what I’m watching, and relate these ideas back to my experience as a straight, able-bodied, Woman of Color at UNC.

Now, here’s what I want to know from YOU:

  1. Think about shows or movies you watch or books you read. How do they relate to your Carolina experience and/or your identity?

Comment below or on Facebook. Good luck with the semester Tar Heels, and stay tuned for the next post in this Media Literacy blog series! (Next time, we’ll start practicing some of these skills with one of my favorite shows – Orange Is the new Black.)


Is Your Resume Ready?

It’s about that time of the academic year where you might be applying to school or jobs or internships! Working on your resume can seem like a daunting task. If you’ve heard of the importance of tailoring your resume to better fit the different things you’re applying to, but you have no idea where to start, you might find these tips helpful. If you find yourself sending the same resume to multiple people, you’re not tailoring your resume enough! By doing this you show that you’ve taken the time to really think about what you’re applying for. Interested? Read on!

"On the internet nobody knows your a dog" by konszvi, Flickr, Creative Commons
“On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog” by konszvi, Flickr, Creative Commons


This section can be incredibly helpful to employers or admissions committees. It states what position or what type of work you’re interested in and why.

For example, you might write “A position in social science research, utilizing a background in psychology, research methods, and statistics.” If you can be as specific as possible in the least amount of words as possible, readers will know with one glance if you’re a good fit or not.

Quick tip for tailoring: Look at the job description or school program description and mirror the language. Check out their vision, mission statement, and purpose of the program or position. Include the exact name of the position or the degree name.

Areas of interest

This is usually seen as an optional section, but I highly recommend it. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback for including this section on my own resume. This section can be especially important for applying to schools or internships where skill building and developing interests is an integral part.

For example, some areas of interest on my resume include “environmental justice” and “health equity”.

Quick tip for tailoring: You will often find a category that is similar to “areas of interest” on the position or program’s descriptions or websites.

Core competencies

Similar to the objective, this can quickly tell employers or admissions committees what you consider as your strongest skills. Although these competencies can be inferred from the rest of your resume, displaying them clearly at the top catches the eyes and interests of those reading your resume, making it more likely that they’ll want to read the rest of your resume in depth. What could be better than that?

You might include skills like “analytical thinking” or “program evaluation,” for example.

Quick tip for tailoring: For jobs, read through the bulleted lists on the job descriptions and mirror the same vocabulary they use. You might find helpful words and phrases where they list what experiences, skills, or qualities of a candidate they’re looking for.

"Ruby Sue in Graduation Cap" by australianshephards, Flickr Creative Commons
“Ruby Sue in Graduation Cap” by australianshephards, Flickr Creative Commons

Tailoring your resume can be super easy with a little practice. Whether you’re graduating in May and applying for jobs, you’re in between years and applying for an internship, or you’ve decided to go back to school, resume writing is crucial. For more awesome tips about developing the perfect resume, check out the UNC Career Services Career Guidebook. Good luck Tar Heels!

5 ways to be kind to yourself

If you’ve been surfing around the internet lately, you might have come across the buzzword gratitude and it triggered some mental images of people doing yoga or holding hands, etc. I’m a huge fan of the idea of being thankful and accepting and giving appreciation. However, as a current UNC graduate student, I’ve seen (and experienced) that it’s often easier to express gratitude to others than to be kind to our own selves….

So, last semester, I started adding some ‘be kind to yourself’ practices to my everyday school-work routine, and I was not only feeling much less anxious day-to-day, but I was actually 100% enjoying school. I want to share some of my tips with you so that you can all be kind to yourselves and THRIVE this semester.

Bill Nye pointing upwards
Photo: “Stabilo pen″ by jbid. Flickr Creative Commons.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: These tips can lower anxiety, help you focus on your schoolwork, and allow you to get to bed earlier! However, please be realistic, flexible, and forgiving. Don’t stress. These are just suggested exercises. Like most exercises, you’ll get faster, better, and more comfortable with practice.

1. Set yourself a time to finish all of your homework by each night.

Allow yourself ample time to do all of your work, make time for meals, and give yourself at least 1 hour to relax and wind-down before going to bed.

2. Set yourself a time limit for reading assignments.

First, only read assignments that are due the next day. Second, give yourself a set number of hours to complete the readings (I give myself 2 hours). Third, count the number of readings you have to do. Fourth, set small goals for each hour (“I will read 2 articles for the first hour and 3 articles in the second hour”).

3. Only EAT while you EAT!

Take time to enjoy your meals and not think about school or work! Try not to do work, check emails, answer calls, or text while you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Take this time to catch-up on Gilmore Girls on Netflix or to relax to some good music.

4. Schedule in fun time – and feel GREAT about it!

I remember my pre-med days as a UNC undergrad, and it seemed like my life consisted of studying, sleeping (sometimes), and eating. If I was doing something fun, I would feel guilty or feel that I should be spending my time doing something productive. Well, FUN IS productive! As long as you’ve figured out a good balance that works for you, sprinkling in some fun activities in your calendar will keep you motivated and hopefully minimize some stress.

5. Add a little color into your life.

I’m talking PENS y’all! I’ve started using colored pens for note-taking (and stopped bringing my laptop to campus). When I take notes, they look pretty and I enjoy looking at them. It’s that simple! If you enjoy what you’re looking at, you can pay attention and focus longer. It has made note-taking and studying way more fun for me.

A cup of colorful pens
Photo: “Stabilo pen″ by jbid. Flickr Creative Commons.

So, I hope that in addition to expressing gratitude for others, I hope you add some kindness to your own life.

What is food justice?

*Updated on 9/9/2014*

What is food justice?

“Food Justice views hunger as a result of unjust social dynamics including racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism. Food justice advocates for policies which rebalance food systems in terms of social inequalities, such as government support for farmers of color, marginalized communities of color with poor food access, and exploited workers.” – The Louisville Fellowship of Reconciliation

In other words….food justice addresses the inequality between who gets to eat a variety of healthier and culturally-competent food options and who does not.

What does food justice have to do with health and wellness?

Here at Student Wellness, we like to think of wellness in terms of dimensions. Wellness is not just about being physically healthy and free of sickness or disease; it also means nurturing all the dimensions of wellness, including social, emotional, cultural, intellectual, spiritual, financial, physical, and environmental. Food justice relates to wellness in a number of these dimensions.


Food justice and environmental wellness

Food justice is related to the environment in many ways. Access to food options may be limited due to the location of people’s homes or means of transportation. There may be an absence of fresh food or there could be a limited choice of affordable food items. People’s social environments may stigmatize people who are hungry, which is another aspect of food justice. 


Food justice and financial wellness

Food injustice perpetuates the unequal class structure in the United States. Without educating ourselves, we could unintentionally support stigmas and misconceptions around poverty and hunger. One common misconception is that only the poorest of poor people are hungry, but we want everyone to know that hunger can exist outside of poverty.


Food justice and social wellness

By reducing the stigma associated with poverty and hunger, we can create a safer space for people to access free or low cost food without harassment, judgment, or condescension. We can do this by normalizing the usage of places like food pantries or food justice community gardens.

We should avoid falling into the trap of “I’m helping you. I’m serving you. (I’m better than you),” also known as the “savior complex.” We can avoid this by transforming traditional “community service” or “volunteering” opportunities into those that create a social culture where ALL people work together to support each other.

By working together we can strengthen interpersonal relationships. This is the groundwork for community empowerment.

What does food justice have to do with UNC?

Student Wellness and other campus and community partners are very proud to support a wonderful student initiative! Starting October 17, 2014, we will welcome UNC’s very first on-campus food pantry: The Carolina Cupboard. This pantry will be located in the Avery Residence Hall Basement, Room #BC and will be open to UNC students. Stay tuned for more information on how you can qualify!

By bringing a pantry to campus we are increasing access to food and promoting food justice. We hope you will work with us, the Residence Hall Association, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Community Involvement, and other advisory board representatives to join this group of motivated and passionate undergraduate students to reduce stigma!

 What does it have to do with us (students)?

This is a unique opportunity at Carolina for all of us to educate ourselves about the issues affecting our Tar Heel community. It’s up to ALL of us to make sure we all feel safe, supported, and included on this campus. Soon, the campus will be flooded with donation bins (graciously supplied by Vice Chancellor Crisp) in various locations – including our Wellness Suite on the 2nd floor of the Campus Health Building. Once the donation bins are up and running, we encourage you to fill them up!

Here’s what you can do NOW: ‘Like’ the Tar Heel Wellness Challenge Facebook page. For the next 14 days, we have a social media challenge about “Environmental Wellness,” one of the dimensions we talked about above. Comment on this blog post below or write a post on the Facebook page with #THWC. You can write about food justice, environmental wellness, or another relevant topic that is important to you. By participating in an activity (such as a writing exercise) related to environmental wellness, you get entered into a raffle to win $20.00 to the UNC Student Stores!

Stay tuned for more information, including the Carolina Cupboard’s new website! In the meantime, participate in the #THWC challenge, and mark your calendars from September 29 through October 3 for a UNC Food Pantry kick-off week!

Updates: Check out Carolina Cupboard’s social media pages!

Website: http://carolinacupboard.strikingly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaCupboard

Twitter: @UNCFoodPantry 




“What’s Near Me?” : Find Campus Resources near YOU and win prizes!

Welcome (back) to Carolina! It’s a brand new year with new classes, new opportunities, and possibly new friends. Maybe you’re ready to hit the ground running or maybe you’re a bit anxious about all of these changes. Either way, Student Wellness is here to help you find your way. Specifically, we want to make sure that you know what resources are available and nearest to you for two reasons:

  1. If you know where helpful resources are NOW, then in times of need, you’ll know exactly where to go (or where to direct your friends)!
  2. We want you to become familiar with what resources this fantastic campus has to offer. I can tell you from personal experience that I WISH I knew these places existed, and I found out about them…4 years too late!
image from 5kmissionpossible.com

It’s time to WIN PRIZES! Here’s how to play:

  • Below you’ll find some of my favorite Carolina hotspots, split up by location.
  • Visit at least 1 spot in each location category (South Campus, Bell Tower, Old Well)
  • Take a selfie in front of the building or sign or whatever is accessible for you.
  • Post that photo to Instagram or to the Tar Heel Wellness Challenge Facebook Page with #THWC for a chance to win a $20.00 gift card for UNC Student Stores!
  • Come visit us at Student Wellness Services on the 2nd floor of the Campus Health (James A. Taylor) building, show us your pics, and EVERY PERSON will leave with a prize – whether it’s a pair of rockin’ sunglasses, a sweet notebook, or a surprise!

Jani’s Favorite Campus Hotspots
Visit each center’s website for some great online resources!

image from housing.unc.edu

Near the South Campus Dorms…

The Learning Center
SASB North
This center has a great supportive environment. They connect you with peer tutors, academic coaches, study groups, and learning disability and accessibility resources. They can also help you out with test prep!

The Writing Center
SASB North
Folks at this center edit and proofread papers and even help develop your unorganized thoughts into a full essay. They send a notice to your professor to let them know you’re taking advantage of their resource, you really care about the work, and you take it seriously. In my experience, this really helped boost my grades.

 LGBTQ Center
SASB North
This is a wonderful place to meet great people. The center also has a resource library and a cozy, safer space to relax in. You do not have to identify as gay, queer, bisexual, etc. to enjoy this space!

 Accessibility Resources and Services
SASB North
This center hooks you up with alternative testing conditions, provides assistive listening devices, provides means of alternative format course textbooks, and more. As someone who gets panic attacks and an increase in my anxiety in high-stress situations, I wish I took advantage of these services as an undergrad. You can BET I’m going to as a graduate student!

 Rams Head Rec Center
Near Morrison and Rams Head Dining Center
This gym has group classes throughout the day, exercise equipment, and a climbing wall.


Tip: To get from South Campus (first-year dorms) to Mid Campus (classes) the fastest – walk to Morrison, find the path that starts behind the dumpsters and goes through a wooded area. The path exits at the Campus Health Building (James A. Taylor Building)!


image from unc.edu

Near the Bell Tower…

 Women’s Center
Stone Center
This is a great place to chat and connect with people who are passionate about gender equity work. There are also tons of interesting classes, lectures, and performances hosted here throughout the semester.

 Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
3rd floor of Campus Health Building (James A. Taylor Building)
CAPS offers a range of mental health services from 1-on-1 counseling to group therapy.

 Campus Health Services
1st floor of Campus Health Building (James A. Taylor Building)
Feeling under the weather? See a doctor at CHS for free. You can also visit CHS for anything from a pelvic exam to immunizations.

 Healthy Heels Shoppe
Basement of Campus Health Building (James A. Taylor Building)
Get everything you need from prescription refills to popular over-the-counter meds and nutrition bars.

 Student Wellness Services
2nd floor of Campus Health Building (James A. Taylor Building)
This is the greatest spot on campus 😉 But for real – we offer a supportive, safer, and non-judgmental environment for conversations around health and well-being. We connect you to peer education groups, campus student groups and resources, or trained staff that can discuss an array of topics from HIV testing to microaggressions to decision-making to active bystander skills.

 Student Rec Center
Near Student Stores, the Football Stadium, on Stadium Drive
This is another gym on campus that has fun group classes and equipment. It’s very easy to stop by between classes.

 The Study Abroad Office
FedEx Global Education Center, up McCauley Street
The building itself is awesome with a lovely café and cozy study spots throughout. Advisors connect you to programs around the world depending on your interests, major, and goals. They’ll also work with you on how to transfer classes back to UNC for course credit. For example, I learned how to pick classes strategically at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland to count towards my Environmental Sciences and Engineering BSPH degree. I ended up not having to take some required courses at UNC and was able to take some fun electives my senior year.


image from unc.edu

Near the Old Well…

 Academic Advising
Steele Building, Near South Building and Saunders Hall
Do you have a hold on class registration because you haven’t seen your academic advisor? I suggest you visit advising on a regular basis, not just before registering for classes!

 Career Services
Hanes Hall (NOT HANES ART CENTER!), across from Saunders, near Carroll Hall (School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Don’t wait until senior year. This is a great place to come chat about your passions and they’ll help connect you with jobs and internships throughout your time at UNC to figure out what you like and don’t like.

 The Office of Scholarship and Student Aid
Pettigrew Hall, North Campus across from the Franklin Street Post Office
Whether you’re an undergraduate or professional student, you can visit walk-in hours to ask advisors financial questions or to get info about financial aid and scholarship options.

SO, start clicking away, snap some pics, and get hashtaggin’! I hope to see you all in our office soon J



A new twist on a classic recipe

Remember that time you were feeling a pesky summer cold coming along and your friend told you her dad makes the best chicken noodle soup ever? And you said you were vegetarian which promptly ended that conversation? Or, remember that time you weren’t a vegetarian but you wanted to lower your carbon footprint in a delicious way?

Read on.

Image from http://buildingachickencoopx.com/
Image from http://buildingachickencoopx.com

Jani’s Tofu Noodle Soup for the Soul

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
As much garlic as you heart desires
1 cup of chopped onion
4-5 cups of veggie broth
1 package of extra firm tofu (squeeze out the excess water!)
1/2 a package of your favorite noodle (I go for the spirals!)
As much dried basil, oregano, rosemary, and other delicious dried herbs as you want
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: A teensy bit of cream

The Oh-So-Simple Directions:
Everything is done in ONE POT so that’s less cleaning for you! In a large pot, cook your onion, garlic, and celery in the olive oil over medium heat until they’re tender. Turn up that heat to high, and pour in the veggie broth. If you feel like you need more liquid, add some water. Add all of your dried herbs and the pasta. Cut the tofu into small cubes and carefully plop them into the pot. The broth mixture should definitely be boiling by now. Once all of the ingredients (minus cream!) are in the pot, turn the heat down to medium/low, cover, and let the soup simmer for 20-30 minutes with occasional stirring/tasting. The soup will be ready once the noodles have fully cooked. At any point if the liquid level looks too low, add water. After the soup contents are cooked, remove the soup from the heat, and stir in your optional cream for some added creaminess.

And…. bon appétit! Enjoy this vegetarian version of the classic common cold cure!