Health Through Heritage

It’s February, and already you’re tired of the dining hall (mostly just walking through the cold to get there). Luckily, the first week of February provides some foodspiration in the form of African Heritage and Health Week.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

African Heritage and Health Week (Feb. 1 – 7) celebrates the foods, flavors, and healthy cooking techniques that were key to the wellbeing of ancestors from African diaspora cultures in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South, each with distinct local foods and cooking styles.

Food and nutrition nonprofit, Oldways created the celebration, with its overall mission to guide people to good health through heritage, using practical and positive programs grounded in science and tradition. The basic premise of African Heritage and Health Week is to bring people together to support one another in healthy eating practices. A fringe benefit: developing multicultural sensitivity and experience.

African Heritage and Health Week also purposely coincides with the beginning of Black History Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, are more prevalent in African American communities.With traditional diets waning in popularity, this week is a way to link African American heritage to historically healthy eating and lifestyle practices.

So what makes these diets so healthy? The African Heritage Diet Pyramid shows a framework for these traditional ingredients.

The diet is based on fresh, natural plant foods: fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens (chard, collards, kale, spinach, turnip, greens), tubers (yams, sweet potatoes, plantains), beans and nuts, rice and whole grains, healthy oils, and homemade sauces of herbs and spices. These are the core group to shop for. There is minimal consumption of eggs, poultry, other meats, and sweets. (Hey, saving some money!)

There is a great variety of high-nutrient foods, and those naturally low in processed sugar and unhealthy fats.

So, here’s how you celebrate African Heritage and Health Week: 

COOK: Plates of Expression dishes and foods from all four distinct regions of African heritage (click on the food for the recipe!)


Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

LEARN: Taste of Heritage Cooking Classeshands-on experience showing people how to eat and cook with traditional ingredients, reconnecting participants with the way of eating and living that promoted the health of African American ancestors everywhere.


DINE: African Heritage Dine Around Townchallenge yourself to experience something new (or old!) – alphabetical index, by state, of cultural restaurants near you that offer widest variety of nutritious, plant-based dishes, preparing all the traditional ingredients and dishes in delicious new ways.

For a quick guide, check out this African Heritage Diet 101 brochure and dive deeper into African Heritage and Health Week.CALLING ALL PANTHERS FANS! ITS SUPER BOWL WEEK. , “It wasn’t going to be instant grits. It was going to be like long, slow-cooked collard greens. I think those collard greens are brewing right now. You can smell them from 100 miles away.” Imagine Cam throwing this Collard Greens recipe to you. Eat them at your Super Bowl party, or save them for your Monday lunch – clearly a win-win situation.

Angelica Arnold is the Program Assistant for Health and Wellness at Student Wellness. She is a first year Master of Public Administration candidate at the UNC School of Government. Her focus is on state, local, and nonprofit programs for nutrition education and walkable communities. She also a volunteer instructor for UNC Fitness Breaks and a youth basketball coach.

What happens if we don’t do anything?

This blog was written by Jessica Smith-Ninaber, a social media intern with One Act, to address what happens when we do not intervene in situations that may lead to violence.

Let’s paint a picture. You’re at a party, the music is loud, there’s no furniture, it’s so crowded, and you look across the room and see a man with a woman “all up in her face”. She looks cordial at first, “I think I’m good here”, he doesn’t want to hear it, he moves closer to her and begins to try and dance with her, “Sorry, I have a boyfriend”, she says. Her face begins to look more and more uncomfortable as you witness the man getting closer and closer.

Thoughts run fast through your head:

  • She must know him. Why else would he be all up in her face?
  • He’s just drunk and probably messing around. He doesn’t know what he’s doing…I hope.
  • Does she need help?
  • Who, me? No, I couldn’t, it’s none of my business.
  • I should go help her, but is it safe?

And if you’re feeling extra brave that night…

  • I am going to help her!

This kind of scenario happens weekly for many people on our college campus. We go to a party, we witness something that doesn’t seem quite right, two people going upstairs, one person’s drunk and the other is sober, and so often we just stand there, unable to think properly, unable to act, and unable to intervene.

We know the positives of intervening, we know what happens when we muster up the courage to approach someone and diffuse the potentially dangerous situation, we know the good that can come out of it, but have we ever stopped to think about what might happen if we don’t intervene?

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Image courtesy of ExplorePortal on Twitter

It’s so easy to think the small acts we do don’t make a difference. It’s so much easier to not take responsibility and think that someone else will step up and intervene. It’s so much easier to just ignore the situation.

And yet, while that may all seem so easy and we continue about our days, our community is tolerating violence. Members of our community are becoming victims of violence. While it may be easier to not think about the woman at the party in that uncomfortable situation, on the inside she is screaming, “someone help me!”

If we don’t intervene, if we sit by passively, violence will most likely occur, sexual assault will most likely happen. We hear the statistic all the time, 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their time at UNC, so how can we standby and do nothing? If you don’t say something, if you don’t intervene, if you think someone else will, then you are letting violence happen on your watch, all in the name of “it’s none of my business”. It is our responsibility as active bystanders to be just that, active bystander. It is also our responsibility as members of our Carolina community to promote behavior that we wish to become the norm; to stop behavior that threatens our safety; to promote an alternative Carolina Way that is committed to promoting health and safety on our campus.

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Image courtesy of Penn State on Flickr 

So the next time you see someone in an uncomfortable situation at a party, run up to them and with all the vibrancy you can muster say, “Hey, weren’t you in my class?!” It’s just an out if someone needs it. Diffuse the awkward and uncomfortable situation, and get between the person and the potential perpetrator. Do something. Do your One Act. Create a new Carolina Way and together, let’s put an end to violence at UNC.

If you want to contribute to creating a new culture at Carolina you can start by signing up for One Act training here.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: What’re YOU Gonna be for Halloween? You Might Think Twice After Reading This…

Halloween should be a time for carefree fun and expression, but some common costumes perpetuate racial and ethnic stereotypes. And that’s not good for our Cultural Wellness.

Wait…WHA–? Cultural wellness…what in the world?

At Student Wellness, we believe wellness has multiple dimensions, and one of those dimensions is Cultural Wellness, which involves understanding diverse backgrounds while creating safe, inclusive spaces for all to feel welcome. Research shows that marginalized populations experience higher rates of stress and stress-related health problems, even when we control for factors like socio-economic status and education level. Much of this stress can be linked to repeated, often everyday, experiences of discrimination or bias, like seeing one’s group made fun of in a costume.

crowd on franklin street during Halloween
“crowd on franklin street.” Selena N. B. H. Flickr Creative Commons.

Ok, so what does this have to do with Halloween?

The DTH recently touched on this in an article about costume racism. Halloween costumes that promote racial and ethnic stereotypes make fun of people who are already marginalized. For example, Native Americans make up 2% of the incoming class of UNC first years, and their numbers have declined 33% over the last 4 years at UNC, and yet Native American costumes are an ever-popular choice for Halloween in Chapel Hill. But sporting that “Sexy Pocahontas” costume trivializes the many rich and varied cultural traditions of Native Americans, not to mention the centuries of forced migration and genocide they have endured. Check out this video made by Native students at UNC about their experience. 

But, it’s HALLOWEEN! It’s all just a joke…aren’t people being TOO sensitive?

It can be very frustrating to always feel in fear of offending someone, especially when it was not intended. And there aren’t hard and fast rules; what offends one person may seem harmless to another. But just because someone has good intentions does not automatically make the impact harmless. Recently, a good friend of mine made a passing comment about my body shape that upset me. I confronted her about it after it had been on my mind all day. She could have blown me off and said I was being “too sensitive.” And then we would have fought and I would have felt even worse, and maybe I would have avoided her after that. She didn’t do that. Instead, she validated my feelings, and she apologized for saying what she said. I knew she never meant to hurt me. But what she said still hurt. She owned it and she apologized and agreed not to make the comment again. And VOILÀ! We are back to hanging out and watching bad TV together.

word "Empathy" in stonework on a bench
“Empathy.” Glenda Sims. Flickr Creative Commons.

Regardless of intent, our actions and words impact other people, and recognizing that impact can improve our relationships. Respecting other identities allows people to feel welcomed and heard—just like my friend made me feel when I confronted her. We know that certain Halloween costumes offend marginalized groups. Not meaning any harm, or dressing in these costumes “all in good fun” will not change the impact a costume has on that group. So, why not choose a Halloween costume that speaks to inclusion rather than stereotypes? Find out more about avoiding offensive costumes here and here. And check out some of our multicultural resources on campus to improve your own Cultural Wellness!

Conversation Starts with Listening

by Will McInerney

All too often, we tend to mistake hearing for listening.

Hearing is a physiological process by which sound waves are processed and passed along from our ears to our brains. Listening is a more complicated psychological process by which we comprehend, create meaning, and apply understanding. (2) Listening engages empathy and connection. This process asks us to be introspective and to challenge ourselves. Listening looks like putting your phone away during a conversation. Listening means you are not formulating a rebuttal or counterpoint while the other is talking, rather you are thinking deeply about what they are saying and taking time to process the information.

“Listen” by Ky. Flikr Creative Commons.

As a community we need to deepen our commitment to whole-heartedly listening to survivors and to the professionals who work and advocate on these issues.

October is Relationship Violence Awareness Month (RVAM). During this month (as well as every other month) it is important that we work to hone our listening skills, foster conversations, and catalyze action.

Relationship violence takes many forms (including but not limited to physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, economic, and verbal) and affects a significant percentage of college-aged individuals. (1) RVAM is a time of year when we seek to shine light on this issue and work to create a safer, more accountable, and inclusive campus for all faculty, staff, and students.

One way we can do this is by having more open and honest conversations. Through conversation, we seek to elicit action, foster change, and create impact. But when having conversations it’s also important that we take special note to truly listen, especially to those directly affected.

Every year during RVAM, Project Dinah hosts a Speak Out event. During this event, members of the Carolina community read anonymous posting detailing the experiences of survivors. These accounts, collected and archived on the site, are a prime example of the stories we should be listening to, learning from, and considering when discussing relationship violence on our campus. (3)

On October 22nd, a collection of UNC organizations will be hosting a Coffee and Conversation event surrounding Relationship Violence in the Anne Queen Lounge of the Campus Y from 5 to 6:30pm.

A panel of professionals from Student Wellness, Equal Opportunity & Compliance Office, Carolina Women’s Center, Compass Center for Women and Children, and the Dean of Students Office will speak and help facilitate group discussions. This is an opportunity for us to engage, to speak, and to challenge our community and ourselves to take tangible steps to reduce violence and listen to survivors.

For more information you can check out the Facebook event page HERE.

RVAM is a month for introspection, for challenging conversations, and for action. Let’s use this opportunity to listen to survivors and engage in constructive dialogue. Join the conversation and let your voice be heard.

If you would like to learn more about active listening and supporting survivors, you can also check out the free online Haven program provided by Student Wellness by clicking HERE.

Check out the RVAM schedule below and click HERE for more UNC RVAM events.

List of events for RVAM 




Will McInerney has worked with the campus wide initiative to increase men’s involvement in gender equity efforts and violence prevention since its inception. He partners with students, faculty, and staff to promote positive, inclusive, and non-violent masculinities.

Will is also a writer, performer, and consultant specializing in Middle East and North Africa-based conflict zones. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, American Public Media, and recently at the International Storytelling Center. Will earned his Bachelor of Arts in Peace, War, and Defense from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Apply to be a Delta Advocate for your Sorority Chapter!

Through peer education, campus outreach, and survivor support, the Delta Advocates program unifies the fraternity and sorority community in preventing sexual and interpersonal violence and providing an educated and empathetic response to survivors of violence.
For the 2016 cohort, the Delta Advocate Leadership Team invites women and female-identified individuals in women’s or co-ed fraternities and sororities under Panhellenic Council, Greek Alliance Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council to apply. Up to two members of each organization under these councils may be selected to participate as Delta Advocates.

All applicants for the Delta Advocates program are required to submit an application and two recommendations by 10/21 at noon. Applications can be located under the forms tab on the Delta Advocate page:

Mental Illness Awareness Week

miaw blog pic
Mental Illness Awareness Week 2015!

Yesterday kicked off Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which is always the first full week in October each year. The goal of MIAW is to raise awareness around the topic of mental health, educate the public, and advocate for mental health issues. This year, the theme of MIAW is #IAmStigmaFree. National Alliance on Mental Illness explains that “Being Stigma Free means learning about and educating others on mental illness, focusing on connecting with people to see each other as individuals and not a diagnosis.” Additionally, this year they running the #IAmStigmaFree campaign where people can take the Stigma Free Pledge to show their support of MIAW and commit to be stigma-free!

There are lots of great events happening on campus this week to celebrate MIAW – check out the details for these events below:


Wednesday 10/7:

Expert Mental Health Panel and Discussion

Time: 5:30-7pm

Location: Hyde Hall (176 E. Franklin St.), University Room

Details: A panel of experts will discuss a variety of mental health topics; a Q & A session will follow. Refreshments provided!

More info:


Thursday 10/8:

Yoga and Meditation Seminar hosted by NAMI at UNC

Time: 5:30-7pm

Location: Forest Theatre (the outdoor theater at the corner or Country Club Rd. and S. Boundary St.)


Friday 10/9:

Mental Health Awareness Day

Time: 8am-4pm

Location: Neuroscience Hospital Lobby (directions here)

Details: This is an all-day event sponsored by UNC’s Department of Psychiatry that will involve interactive displays, poster sessions, and information on community resources related to mental health.


Saturday 10/10:

Rethink: Psychiatric Illness Training

Time: 12-4pm

Location: TBD (more information after you register)

Details: “At the Rethink: Psychiatric Illness Training, 30 students and community members break away from societal stigma to learn the basics about mental illness, become aware of the statistics and prevalence of mental illnesses in our state and on our campus, debunk myths, learn what we can do to help ourselves or a friend in need, familiarize ourselves with the resources available on campus, and understand the specific actions we can take to act as advocates. Throughout dynamic activities which include role playing, a trivia game, crossing lines, and a talk where a UNC student shares his or her personal experience with mental illness, participants become empowered and learn how they can do their part to empower others.”

Register here:


Interested in getting involved and learning more about topics around mental health? There are a number of great student groups on campus to check out:

Rethink Psychiatric Illness

Embody Carolina

Stigma Free Carolina

Active Minds

National Alliance on Mental Illness on campus at UNC-Chapel Hill


October is Relationship Violence Awareness Month!

by Diamond Slone Brown

October is Relationship Violence Awareness Month (RVAM) and UNC is in full swing with powerful and empowering programs and events for the entire month! Learn more about relationship violence and how our campus supports and encourages those affected by sexual and interpersonal violence by attending any (or ALL!) of the month’s events. You can also follow any of the many links added below to learn more:

October 1 (rescheduled for October 8 due to rain)- Speak Out! Against Sexual and Interpersonal Violence (Project Dinah) – 7:30pm in the Pit

  • To kick off Relationship Violence Awareness Month, join Project Dinah at Speak Out! Against Sexual and Interpersonal Violence. Speak Out! is a powerful event where members of Project Dinah will read anonymous testimonials of survivors’ experiences that have been collected over the year through our Speak Out! blog (linked below).
  • In speaking out, we hope to break the troubling silence that surrounds sexual assault and relationship violence and lend our voices to those who struggle with its effects.
  • We will also have spoken word performers, music performances, and an open mic for people who wish to share their story at the event.
  • Add your survivor story to our anonymous blog and read the stories of others who have spoken out at ***trigger warning***

October 2-31 – Relationship Violence Awareness Month Trainings:

  •  HAVEN: October 15 (staff, 1-4 pm), October 23 (student, 1-4 pm)
    One Act: 10/2 (1-5 pm)
    Safe Zone: 10/5 (10 am-2 pm), 10/28 (9 am-1 pm)
    Sustaining Healthy Relationships: (available online – download more information)
    One Love Escalation Workshop: (Time and Date TBD)Workshops on Consent and Healthy Relationships (TBD)

October 7 – Wellness Wednesday (Student Wellness) from 11:30am-1:30pm in the Plaza outside the Student Union

October 9  – Carolina Men Care Campaign begins

October 9 – Awareness Concert with Compass Center at Local 506

October 21 – Screening of The Hunting Ground (Carolina Roundtable Committee on Student Government), 7-11pm in Genome G100

  •  At the screening, there will be a documentary showing and panel that will include Andrea Pino (one of the main characters in The Hunting Ground), Sofie Karasek (a survivor featured in the film and co-founder of End Rape on Campus), and two of the film’s producers.

October 22 – Coffee Conversation on Relationship Violence (Carolina Women’s Center, UNC Men’s Project, Sigma Gamma Rho), 5-6:30pm in the Campus Y Anne Queen Lounge

  • Campus Coffee Conversations is a monthly discussion series where students, faculty, and staff can talk about issues surround gender equity and violence prevention at UNC. This month we will be focusing our conversation on relationship violence. We will start the event with a panel discussion with campus and community resources, who will share their expertise. An informal discussion around different aspects of relationship violence will follow. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

October 26 or 27: Project Dinah Consent Carnival, 7-9pm

October 28 – Screening of Private Violence (CWC, Compass Center, Southern Oral History Program, Working Group in Feminism and History), 6:30-9pm at the Varsity Theatre.

  • There will be a short networking opportunity (with snacks and beverages) leading up to the film screening at 7pm. Following the film, there will be a panel discussion (featuring Kit Gruelle, a survivor, advocate, and educator who is featured in the film). There will be a small suggested donation for the event, with all proceeds benefiting the Compass Center for Women and Families.

October 29 – Healthy Queer Relationships (SAGA, One Act, possibly Queer People of Color), 7pm

  •  This will be an event on healthy queer relationships. It will take place during SAGA’s general body meeting. There will be a guided discussion alongside information from the “Sustaining Healthy Relationships” online module.

October 29-30 — Costumes ≠ Consent (One Act, Interactive Theater Carolina) in the Pit

Here is a link to even more RVAM events happening all month!!

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual, interpersonal, or relationship violence this site ( may also be used to find support and resources to encourage and guide you to those that can help.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 3 Ways to be a Better Student

We consistently hear from students that academics are their biggest stressor, which makes sense.  I mean, that’s why you’re here—to get a world-class education, right?  And that means learning to study smart, which may be simpler than you realize.  One of my high school teachers, Ms. Dawson, had only 3 rules in her class, but they really summed up how to get the most academic bang for your buck, no matter what the subject:

Show up.

According to Woody Allen “90% of life is just showing up”, and this idea definitely applies to school.  You are much more likely to get something out of your classes if you go to them.  Even if you don’t take any notes or listen to the lecture, at the very least you may absorb some important random detail that ends up on the final or catch that announcement about a paper extension or extra credit opportunity.  The secret to good grades is not just knowing the material; it’s knowing your professor.  Professors are people just like us and the tests they write reflect their own knowledge and teaching style.  And the best way to get to know your professor?  That’s right—class.


Now I know I sound like Captain Obvious when I say this, but school requires thinking.  And thinking is hard.  Thinking means processing and applying information, not just memorizing and regurgitating.  So, you have shown up to class—great start!  Rather than feverishly typing out the professor’s every last syllable, take a few moments to think about what you are hearing.  Ask yourself questions like: How would I apply this in a real world context? What are the implications of this? Or If I were to write a test on this information, what questions would I ask?

Being able to ask and answer questions like these will put you way ahead of the game when it comes to studying for a big exam.

Look at your book.

Ok, so the days of having to lug textbooks around and review them during class are over.  But the sentiment behind this rule still applies today.  Now you’ve come to class and you are thinking—awesome!  The next step is focusing on what is going on IN class and tuning out everything else.  Ever been in that lecture class where all the laptop screens in front of you are flickering between Facebook, gchat, and Sakai?  If the professor hasn’t changed the powerpoint slide in 20 seconds, do you start fumbling for your phone or google searching articles for that poli sci paper due tomorrow?  Multi-tasking may seem like the way to get everything done, but recent research suggests that chronic multi-taskers may be LESS productive.[Multitasking May Not Mean Higher Productivity]  Those that stay focused and tuned in during class are more likely to retain the information longer.  I mean, you have to be in class anyway, why not get the most out of it—turn off the phone, close those tabs, and keep looking at the powerpoint slide even though you’ve already read over it twice.  Think of it this way: the more you can focus during class, the less time you will spend studying out of class.  That means fewer late night cram sessions and more time for FUN!

Now you know Ms. Dawson’s 3 rules for success—Show up, think, and look at your book.  Simple, right?  The hardest of course is consistently applying these rules, and sometimes these 3 things won’t be enough to ensure success in all classes.  Luckily, UNC has a multitude of resources to help you find ways to study smart:


Here’s a great place to start if you are struggling academically and not sure what you need:


For help with studying or free tutoring, visit the Learning Center:


For help with writing a paper or application essay, visit the Writing Center:


If you think you might have a learning disability or ADHD:


And, if you need to talk to someone about managing your stress or personal issues, we are here for you. Come to Counseling and Psychological Services between 9am and noon or 1pm and 4pm to see a counselor without making an appointment.


 Updated September 25, 2015 to reflect accurate contact information for Counseling and Psychological Services. Previous version included the former name of the service and a link that did not go to the CAPS page directly.