“Eyes on the Street”: Why Be Active In Your Community?

There are plenty of personal reasons to walk, jog, bike or otherwise actively get around: it increases one’s own ability to get exercise, it’s cheap (or free!), and can have positive mental health outcomes like lowering stress and anxiety. But, actively getting around has greater altruistic benefits as well. Many of these are centered around the “eyes on the street” principle from sociologist Jane Jacobs:

“This is something everyone knows: a well-used city street is apt to be a safe street. A deserted city street is apt to be unsafe.”

The idea here is that the more eyes you have on a given street, the greater sense of community ownership and safety. The spirit of “eyes on the street” is not so much about watching what’s around us, but rather seeing and taking a part in what is around us, and thus, shaping the community. Here are the “eyes on the street” benefits of actively getting around campus and community by walking, biking, jogging, etc.:


"Just Walking"; Beverly Goodwin; Flickr Creative Commons
“Just Walking”; Beverly Goodwin; Flickr Creative Commons

Getting to know community and community members

It sounds like a no-brainer, but actively getting around campus and the community allows us to get better acquainted with neighbors and those around us. When we choose to walk or bike versus drive, we have the ability to interact with those around us by smiling, waving, taking a minute to talk, etc. In a local example: in the Chapel Hill community, these kinds of connections with surroundings and neighbors can help bridge the UNC campus to the greater Chapel Hill community.


Neighborhood health and safety benefits

Actively getting around a community also means actively taking part in it. That means acknowledging what we appreciate about a neighborhood, and, importantly, it also means spotting things that seem like they need attention—from a large crack in the sidewalk, to a stray dog, to a jogger who has fallen. This can lead to benefits in crime-reduction and generally making things safer.


Increases community norms around activity

Actively getting around campus and community is contagious. The more people you see walking around, the more likely you might be to walk around yourself! In this way, being an active commuter is a way of changing social norms around activity.



 These are just some of the community-wide benefits of actively getting around a community. Though we’ve focused on the benefits of actively getting around, it’s important to be safe while doing so. For more information on pedestrian and cyclist safety check out links at the UNC Department of Public Safety, and the Town of Chapel Hill.

Sit Up Straight, Like Your Mama Told You

Recent research (some conducted right here at UNC!) has shown that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health, and that using laptops can cause wrist, shoulder and neck problems that can lead to headaches and other issues.  Studies also show that generally poor posture can be linked to chronic back pain and can cause long term spinal damage down the road.

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It’s not Easy Being Green

“It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the Frog.

Kermit summarized my personal attempts at living a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s not easy, especially on a student’s budget. In fact at times, it seemed downright impossible. However, somehow our froggy friend managed to keep going green, and that’s what I’m going to share with you – a simple secret on how to go green without losing the green from your pocket!

So before revealing my tips, let’s start with a little background on the Green Movement. The current Green Movement is based in the idea of sustainability. What is sustainability? Personally, my favorite definition is from Robert Gilman, Director of the Context Institute, You might think of it as extending the Golden Rule through time, so that you do onto future generations (as well as your present fellow beings) as you would have them do onto you. Pretty cool, huh? Being sustainable means taking care of the environment around you  -on any level, be it your room, apartment building, town, state, country, world.

While this seems simple, at times it can seem challenging, especially when you’re on a limited budget already. However, don’t let this deter you from making green changes in your life (your environment will be nicer for you and those around you!). It’s the little things that add up! Continue reading

Yield to Heels Day!

Be Aware! Be Safe! Be Considerate! When it comes to pedestrian safety!

Yield to Heels day is Wednesday, April 13 at UNC!

Yield to Heels day serves to educate pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers around campus on the importance of visibility and awareness. The average college student is no stranger to walking or biking. Each day thousands of students at Carolina make the trek across campus, many by foot or bike, to attend classes and to participate in events and activities at UNC. It’s vital to remember safety when traveling from point to point on and around campus.

Implemented by the UNC Department of Public Safety and the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, Yield to Heels is an ongoing pedestrian safety awareness campaign that reminds all campus users to function as a team for a safer campus environment.  The campaign intends to remove myths about traffic and pedestrians and make helpful information about pedestrian safety available to the University community. Continue reading