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!

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!

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 http://speakoutunc.blogspot.com/ ***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!! http://safe.unc.edu/create-change/rvam/

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

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week Events

February 23-28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This week, there are plenty of events and conversations going on around campus, organized by groups like Campus Recreation, Embody Carolina, Carolina Dining Services, and Campus Health Services, as well as Interactive Theater Carolina and Student Wellness.

These events intend to illuminate the prevalence and severity of eating disorders and improve our understanding of their triggers and the ways we can help, while also increasing access to resources, promoting body love, and creating a more supportive environment for those struggling with an eating disorder.

All week, several campus partners and groups will be pit-sitting from 10am-2pm. Each day focuses on a different theme — Monday is “Pledge in the Pit,” Tuesday is “Busting the Gender Myth,” Thursday is “Forget the F-Word,” and Friday is “Photo Campaign.”

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, Interactive Theater Carolina’s “What Are You Looking At?” program is back by popular demand! This interactive performance is focused around conversations about body image and the media. More information here!

Tuesday, February 24, Student Wellness will host a media literacy workshop focused around body image. Join us in a discussion around the media we consume and how it affects our attitudes about body image, race, and gender and learn how to critically analyze the media in your life!

Here is a calendar of other events this week!:


Learn more at nedawareness.org!

Compete to WIN a $1,000 GRAND Prize at LDOC HeelFest–Auditions start this Week…

That’s RIGHT–your or your student group could win $1,000 at the very first LDOC HeelFest!!!

LDOC HeelFest will be an end-of-year talent show extravaganza. This is the first year UNC is doing this event and it is a collaboration among multiple campus departments and student groups. It will be held at Ehringhaus Field from 4-8pm on LDOC, which is Friday April 24th. The talent show will feature a showcase of UNC student talent, and the students at the event will get to vote on the winning performer/group. The Grand Prize will be a cash amount, TBD.

Come to auditions this week and next…Let’s see what you got!

LDOC HeelFest audition schedule
LDOC HeelFest audition schedule

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Logo from National Alliance for Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=mental_illness_awareness_week
Logo from National Alliance for Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=mental_illness_awareness_week

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around one in four adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness each year – that’s about 61.5 million people. Furthermore, one in 17 adults is living with a serious mental illness like major depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. Given these statistics, it’s likely that mental illness affects the majority of us in some way. Yet, it’s a topic that is often misrepresented or ignored altogether in the media and within our society as a whole.

To work towards changing this, Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) was created in 1990 – Each year, the first full week of October (this year, October 5-11) is designated as MIAW. So that’s happening next week! You might be wondering: what exactly is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and how can I get involved? Keep reading for answers to these questions.

NAMI explains that during Mental Illness Awareness Week, “we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.” As NAMI’s definition states, fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness is one of the main objectives of MIAW. According to a study done among students at UNC, 11.3% of Carolina students surveyed said they agreed with the following statement: I would think less of someone who has received mental health treatment. Furthermore, 19% of students surveyed agreed with this statement: I feel that receiving mental health treatment is a sign of personal failure.

As these statistics show, stigma surrounding mental illness in our community is a real issue. For more information on stigma and how to combat it, check out Stigma Free Carolina – a group on campus working to fight stigma and raise awareness about mental health issues in the UNC community.

"People in the summertime," by Gonzalo G. Useta, Flickr Creative Commons
“People in the summertime,” by Gonzalo G. Useta, Flickr Creative Commons

There are a bunch of great events happening at UNC for Mental Illness Awareness Week – if you’re interested in learning more, get involved with some of these opportunities! Here’s a schedule of events for MIAW (and beyond):

  • Mental Health awareness event in the Pit – sponsored by Stigma Free Carolina
    • October 3, 2014 from 12:00-2:00pm
    • Location: the Pit
    • Trivia questions and prizes!
  • Rethink Psychiatric Illness training – sponsored by Stigma Free Carolina
    • October 4, 2014 from 2:00-6:00pm
    • Location: Student Union, room 2423
    • Register here
  • Redefining Mental Health panel discussion sponsored by Stigma Free Carolina
    • October 6, 2014 from 5:30-7:00pm
    • Location: Carolina Inn
    • Register here
  • Interactive Theater Carolina performance on mental health issues
    • October 7, 2014 from 6:00-7:30pm
    • Location: Student Union, room 3203
    • Register here
  • Mental Health 101 training
    • October 9, 2014 from 6:00-8:00pm
    • Location: Student Union, room 3408
    • Refreshments served!
    • Register here
  • Rethink Psychiatric Illness training
    • October 25, 2014 from 12:00-4:00pm
    • November 8, 2014 from 2:00-6:00pm
    • Register here

For more information on mental health services on campus, including individual and group counseling, check out UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).


Are you a self-proclaimed “foodie”? If so, today is a special day for you. Today is National Food Day, a day dedicated to celebrating healthy, affordable and sustainable food.
The typical fast-food driven American diet has severe health implications such as increased risk for disease and premature death. Acknowledging these consequences, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) created the Food Day campaign just one year ago as a movement toward a better food system.

In only one year’s time Food Day has become viral, engaging all Americans to “eat real”! Food Day supporters believe that Americans of all ages, races, incomes and geographic locations should have the opportunity to select healthy dietary choices.
Learn more about this movement by watching the food day video here:

Want to get involved?

Source: http://www.foodday.org/

Secondary Survivors of Sexual Assault

This April, honoring sexual assault survivors’ experiences and celebrating their healing is at the forefront of a number of Sexual Assault Awareness events at UNC. Another important component of sexual assault awareness is assisting those who have a loved one or intimate partner who has experienced sexual assault, also known as secondary survivors.

Survivors of sexual assault may tell a friend or significant other with whom they feel safe and comfortable before they talk to a professional. Even if the assault or abuse happened a long time ago, you could be the first person they have told and your reaction can have a big impact.

Often secondary survivors go through many of the same feelings that survivor’s experience. You can feel powerless, guilty, shocked, angry, or scared. It is natural to have these feelings when you learn that someone important to you has been assaulted or abused, but try not to let these feelings get in the way of focusing on what the survivor may need.

It is important to not deny the assault, blame the survivor or compare their situation to your own or that of another loved one. Every situation and person are different and may react to experiencing a sexual assault in different ways. Asking too many specific questions of your loved one may end up feeling like an interrogation. Think to yourself before asking a question, “Am I asking this for the survivor’s benefit or for myself? Do I really need to know this in order to be a support for them?”

Positive things you can do to support your loved one involve believing, comforting and listening to them, affirming that what happened to them was wrong, checking in with them to make sure they currently feel safe, and educating yourself on interpersonal violence. If the survivor is an intimate partner, do not shy away from conversations about sexual acts or positions they don’t feel comfortable engaging in, and respect their boundaries.

The emotions of being a secondary survivor can be overwhelming. If your feelings become too intense, the survivor may begin to comfort you. Thankfully, there are people that you can talk to, without compromising the privacy of your loved one. Consider joining a support group. If you are a survivor as well this may bring up latent feelings for you. You can visit UNC’s Counseling and Wellness on the third floor of Taylor Student Health or check out online support for primary and secondary survivors on the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s website.


Check out http://safe.unc.edu to learn more tips for supporting survivors of sexual assault and about Haven, a 4-hour training offered at UNC to equip members of the UNC community with tools to be effective and supportive allies to survivors of interpersonal violence.

Next week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

February 26 – March 3 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAWeek). Eating disorders affect all of us, men and women from all walks of life. According to a Global Market Institute Survey, four out of ten Americans have either suffered or known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. That means it’s pretty likely that someone close to you has been touched by an eating disorder: a friend, classmate, co-worker, brother, sister, significant other.

In honor of NEDAWeek, take a break from class, get some free food or watch some groove-shakers, and learn more about eating disorders and body image at the same time! Here’s the scoop:

SUNDAY (February 26th)
Miss Representation film screening, panel discussion and FREE fro-yo
111 Carroll, UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communications
2:30 – 5:00pm

UNC Eating Disorders Program is hosting a FREE screening of “Miss Representation,” a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Afterwards, there will be a  Q andA with Frank Stasio,  host of The State of Things on NPR; Dr. Cynthia Bulik, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders and author of The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like With Who You Are; and Ms. Stephanie Crayton, Media Relations Manager for UNC Healthcare with a decade of broadcast experience. FREE frozen yogurt, compliments of TCBY, offered at the event!!

MONDAY (February 27th)
Greek Groove 2012
Memorial Hall
7:00 – 9:00pm

This is a large dance competition hosted by Panhellenic Council. Come see these impressive dancers battle for a cause. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now at Memorial Hall. Funds raised benefit UNC Eating Disorders Program to provide treatment and support for those struggling with eating disorders, and promote awareness of the dangers of eating disorders in the Carolina community.

TUESDAY (February 28th)
The Mirror Event: Book signing with Dr. Cynthia Bulik, and Mirror Pictures!
FREE Food! LIVE Music! Prizes!
@ The Pit and Student Stores
5:30 – 7:30pm

Come to the Pit at 5:30pm for free food, games, giveaways and activities hosted by peers and experts in nutrition, eating disorders, body image, and self-esteem.  Participate in the Great Jeans Giveaway to enter our prize raffle. At 6pm in the student bookstore, meet world-renowned eating disorders expert Cynthia Bulik, listen to excerpts from her book, The Woman in the Mirror , engage in invigorating discussion facilitated by Dr. Bulik, have your book signed and take your picture with The Mirror! Stay from 7-7:30pm for live music and continued festivities as we announce raffle winners.

“Bury” your negative body attitudes at the tombstones in Lenoir and Ram’s Head dining and contribute positive affirmations on the mirrors at the SRC.

Even if you can’t attend any of these events, you can still take a moment to learn a little bit about eating disorders.

  • Can you have an eating disorder and be overweight?
  • What are the different types of eating disorders?
  • How is bulimia different from binge eating?
  • Who is at risk for an eating disorder?
  • Can eating disorders be cured?

Find answers to these questions on this NEDA factsheet and visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for even more information!

We’re pumped about the week’s events, and we hope you will take part in NEDAWeek at UNC.

F to M to Octopus

Happy LGBTQ Ally Visibility Week! How are you celebrating? I’m going to see my friend Sam Peterson’s on-campus performance, “F to M to Octopus.” Sam calls it “a one-person rumination on hilarity, despair, transitioning, God, and octopuses.”

I’m really looking forward to learning about Sam’s individual experiences not conforming to his assigned sex at birth. It always feels like a privilege when someone shares personal stories! Trans identities (like all gender identities!) are diverse and every story is influenced by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and spirituality, among other things.

In the spirit of Ally Visibility Week, I’m reflecting on how to be a better ally for the trans folks in my life and in the community. Have you completed the Safe Zone training through the LGBTQ Center? It’s a great way to examine your attitudes about sexuality/gender and learn about how policies/laws affect LGBTQ folks.

There are a lot of seemingly little ways to support your trans friends, crushes, partners, family members, classmates, coworkers, and even your acquaintances:

Respect privacy. Coming out is not a one-time event. Someone may come out to you but not be ready for everyone to know. It’s an honor to be trusted with something this important. Gossip can have serious negative consequences.

Pronouns are powerful. It can be really hard to hear other people refer to you with pronouns that conflict with your identity (to be “mispronouned”). Ask trans folks about which pronouns they prefer. Use those pronouns when you’re together and with other people that they’ve come out to. Be conscientious of location: let your trans friends tell you when it’s okay to use chosen pronouns (be careful not to accidentally out them). If you’re in a leadership role, like head of an organization or a TA, make a point to use the chosen pronouns if your trans group member has told you it’s okay. You’re setting a powerful example for the group!

“Both strangers and friends have been available and non-judgmental listeners – strangers like at Weaver St. where cashiers readily accepted my pronoun change without comment, or an occasional “right on!” Being mispronouned in early transition can be devastating; it sounds cliché but having people be supportive and open and willing to shift the way they were thinking has been transformative, not just for them but for ME!” – Sam Peterson

Be accepting of changing self-definition. Part of being accepting is giving people space to explore their gender identities. Be supportive of change and growth. For example, use your friend’s chosen name and don’t refer to the birth name as the “real name.” It’s hurtful to suggest the chosen name is less authentic.

“For me, I’ve experienced a great generosity from people – that generosity means an acceptance of who I said I was. It sounds so simple but it’s really powerful.”
— Sam Peterson

Be an advocate. Consider how institutional policies affect trans folks, and advocate for changes that build a more inclusive environment, like gender-neutral bathrooms. Increase visibility by bringing up trans issues when it’s relevant to class discussion, and support arts events on campus, like “F to M to Octopus”!

“F to M to Octopus” is included in UNC Communication’s “Solo Takes On Three: Story, Identity, and Desire” Festival. Performances are in Swain Hall. To purchase tickets, call 919-962-1449 or visit the Student Union Box Office. $5 for students/seniors and $10 for the general public. Performances are:

Saturday February 4, 9:00pm
Friday February 10, 8:00pm
Sunday February 12, 5:00pm