Welcome to the Campus Y!

Welcome to the blog for the Campus Y – the center for social justice at UNC-Chapel Hill! The Campus Y is the oldest and largest student service and activism organization at UNC-Chapel Hill, advancing social justice, achieving social impact, and supporting social innovation for more than 150 years.

How do we do it? Through more than 2,000 students involved in more than 30 student-led social justice committees, and new programs like the Bonner Leaders Program, the Global Gap Year Fellowship and the Social Innovation Incubator, we pursue our organization’s mission: the pursuit of social justice through the cultivation of pluralism.


You can read about students’ domestic and global service, education, advocacy and activism on this blog!


My Irish Endeavors

The following post was written by Whitney Edmonds, a rising senior in the Bonner Leader Program at the Campus Y.  This summer Whitney has been  interning through the IES: Dublin Summer Internship program; she works at Volunteers for Youth as her Bonner community partner. 

In the beginning…

As the summer began its course, I looked towards my departure with an inconceivable amount of enthusiasm. Previously, I had only dreamed leaving our beloved USA in order to peruse a different setting with its own points of interests, people, and culture. Then, I just decided that that could be a now type of thing. Thus, after much preparation and one annoyingly delayed flight, my adventures began…

The Experiences…

Dublin theater seats2Through the IES: Dublin Summer Internship program, I was placed at The New Theatre, a theatre company focusing on contemporary drama and newly written plays. In addition to performance theatre, the locale also hosts a variety of film clubs and special events. While my position title was left ambiguously as “intern”, it well covers the variety of task I carried out.  I initially served as a production intern during the preparation and run of a new play, Pink Milk. This included responsibilities such as observing rehearsals, painting sets, and attending get in (aka tech week). Moreover, after the very successful opening night, my duties became front of house oriented. At the desk/box office/concession stand (which are unusually all in one), I learned the processes of selling tickets, booking reservations, and serving concessions. While the front desk job can become mundane, it made plenty of time for socializing with my theatre loving coworkers as well as the bookstore owners who were quite politically amused by the upcoming American presidential election. During the event of Palfest (an arts festival celebrating Irelands support for Palestinians), I attended many of the events; some were held within the New Theatre space, others were located elsewhere but were available due to my coworkers who were highly involved in the planning of the occasion. It was interesting to experience the arts Dublin theater box officeused for social justice oriented purposes and the progressive conversations that this propelled.  Preceding the end of Palfest, I subsequently returned to more consistent front of house duties. In addition to those task, I have been sent on quite a few miscellaneous errands (apparently this word is not used conversationally in the Irish culture) such as copying, purchasing tea/coffee/cups (which are in high demand in Ireland), distributing advertisements to places where us artsy people often visit (coffee shops, vintage stores, touristy places, etc.), and transporting borrowed equipment. Thus, I had many practical experiences while interning and gained knowledge/appreciation of other aspects of theatre beyond my specific interest in costume design.

Personal growth…

Lastly, I have to say that during my time interning abroad I have experienced a relative amount of personal growth. In other words, this experience not only gave me time to explore the field of my future career, but also to improve my social skills, evolve my social media usage, and become a more wholesome person. Briefly, I have to say it is literally impossible to be antisocial while in Dublin. The local people are just so eager to be interactive. My internship was in full support of random friends of the theatre stopping by for some casual tea and talking. I have noticed that the establishments in Ireland are particularly small, and due to that one’s personal bubble can only be so wide in circumference and conversations are promoted. While I found it to be a bit overwhelming waiting in coffee shops filled with 50 customers when there seems to only exist spatial room for about 30, I soon ceased to stress such inconveniences and be amused by the Dublin social scenes. Also, during my time here I have gained more social media competence. To clarify, as I spent my adolescence in a very rural environment where internet access is not plentiful, my existence on the World Wide Web was still in its developing stages and solely consist of Facebook & Pinterest. However, being in Ireland, I acquired way too many pictures and decided to share them with the world via Instagram. I see this as just the beginning of the growth in my online existence and social media competence which will be beneficial for career readiness. Additionally, my time here has provided me with the space to be more Whitney in Irelandaware of myself. I have noticed things like how I am so easily annoyed when deviating from a set scheduled such as being told to be in early to work and then no one being there to unlock the building because in Irish time, I have basically shown up early. I have also been more comfortable in being my true self. It is not that I have not been such before; I just have acquired a few too many societal filters. I did not realize how detrimental this was until I attained an increased amount of contentment in living in a place where no one knows me and living with people I will probably not see after my departure. While this all seems like a temporary haven, I hope to take this more me version of myself back to my home state and continue to frolic in the bliss of self-love.

In conclusion, my summer has been filled with moments of enrichment and inspiration to continue in my desires to create both theatre and social justice.

Special thanks to Carolina Global Initiatives, UNC Study Abroad, and all other supporters of my journey.

Week 3—¡Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le VIVA CHILE!

The following blog was written by Aryana Bolourian, a rising Junior in the Bonner Leaders Program at the Campus Y.  Aryana works at the Teen Center   as a Bonner; she is working with AISEC in Santiago Chile this summer through the Bonner International Summer of Service internship. 

Aryana blog 3 artworkTaking care, loving, and playing with the children has been incredible, but this week, the other volunteers and I wanted to do something more at Protectora. So, early in the week, we spent an entire day huddled for warmth in the upstairs conference room—there is no heating—planning activities for the kids. We came up with a program of educational and artistic exercises, separated by age group, for the children. My personal favorite, i.e. the one I planned, was based on the colors of the rainbow. For the two-year- olds, we played a three-minute cartoon video of a girl shooting colors from a canon into the sky, forming an arcoiris (rainbow). After playing the video, I quizzed the kids on what they had learned, using colored objects around the room. Then, using colored pencils, they created their own rainbows that the volunteers and I had outlined…of course, they did not appear in the typical ROYGBIV color order. The three-year-olds partook in the same artistic activity, except with finger-paints, but with an added twist. Instead of the video in Spanish, I spent time teaching them the colors in English. It was so rewarding hearing them chant the colors in English as I pointed to the different paint bottles.

La Granja

The next day, the three-year-olds took a field trip to a farm, located at the Veterinarian University a few miles down the road. The kids had been leAryan with gallinetaarning the names of different farm animals, and it was time to put their knowledge to the test! Some of their parents joined us on the trip, but it was our job to wrangle up the kids when they ran off and to hold their hands around the exhibits. It was an incredible trip, and I felt like a kid again, gawking at the animals that roamed free through the farm. We saw llamas, chickens, bunnies, goats, and a gallineta—a chicken-like animal I had never seen before!

Memory Game

As a follow-up to their farm trip, the volunteers and I created several pictures on cardboard sheets, and played a game of memory with the kids. We laid out several tiles on the floor, all with different farm animals, and had the children come up in turns, flipping two over and trying to find matches. For the younger kids, we made cards depicting different family members, as they had spent the past couple weeks learning about families. When drawing the Mom, Dad, Grandfather, etc. cards, we used one color for each character. For example, the mom was blue, the grandfather pink, and so on. We wanted to reinforce the colors we had taught them a few days prior, but we also wanted to plant in their minds that girls do not always have to be red or pink and boys do not always have to be green or blue. Us volunteers had witnessed some of the boys angrily taking the toy cars from the girls and pushing dolls on them. Likewise, some of the girls ridiculed the boys who played with what are typically deemed as more feminine toys. While colored memory tiles may seem trivial, we hoped to start teaching these kids at a young age that societal gender roles and stereotypes do not have to be followed.

Weekend Travels

This weekend, a group of volunteers and I went to Valparaiso, a gorgeous port city about two hours northwest of Santiago. We spent three nights in a hostel, surrounded by Valparaiso’s magnificent hills, each of which is painted by colored houses and buildings. In the second half of the 19th century, Valparaiso played in an important role for sailors traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Because of this, in the city, you can see European influence mixed with Chilean culture. Fifteen minutes from Valparaiso is a beach town called Viña del Mar, where we stopped for half the day to bask in the sun. On our last night in Valparaiso, we were lucky enough to catch the final match of Copa America, where Chile beat Argentina in penalties! It was unreal celebrating with all the Chileans on the streets—cheering their national futbol chant: ¡Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le VIVA CHILE!

Aryan blog 3aAryana blog pix 3bAryana blog 3c



See You Soon – Wrapping Up a Summer

The following post was written by Tiffany Turner, a rising junior in the Bonner Leader Program at the Campus Y who received a Bonner NC Summer of Service grant for her internship at TABLE; she also received a Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation summer fellowship.    

My summer time with TABLE has come to a close, as I am spending this last full week closing up my summer fellowship through the JKH Foundation. I have enjoyed getting to experience the ins and outs of TABLE in the summer time.   It’s been a little while since I last wrote, so I’ll get you up to speed on what I’ve been doing. 

 Tiffany infographicRecently, I worked on an infographic for TABLE. The infographic will share information with donors about the three places their donations go. For every $10 donated, $7 goes to our hunger relief programs, $1 to our nutrition education programs, and $2 to supplies, staff, and fundraising. Making an infographic was a lot harder than what I expected it to be. Infographics are all about drawing the viewers eyes from one piece to the next, a path. I’m including a picture of the infographic I made because I’m happy with how simple it is in nature, how it gets the point across, and its consistency with TABLE’s branding.

 I also spent some time working on our Empty Bowls fundraising event, which will be held in August. I’ve done this from two different angles. First, I created an advertising video, if you will that shares some key details of the event and is almost a scrapbook of photos from previous empty bowls event. I won’t share that now because it hasn’t gone up yet, but you should follow TABLE on FaceBook for when it does come up. Second, I have been getting in contact with local businesses asking for donations of gift certificates and other raffle items for the event. Getting support by local businesses is HARD! They are asked by so many organizations to help out that it many have often allocated their budget for donations. It also takes an email. Another email. A voicemail. A phone call. And them asking you to send them another email! But, it’s always worth it in the end when you can get raffle items that will draw the community in and get them to support our cause!

 The final big piece that I am continuing to work on, even though I’m not on-site at TABLE is a grant to Bank of America. I’m on a time crunch for it, but luckily have a good basis of materials to work with. I’m excited to apply and hope that we will be able to get something out of it that will support both supplies, staff, and fundraising and our Weekend Meal Backpack Program.

 I am looking forward to returning to TABLE at the end of August as the eldest Bonner intern. I am excited for the new challenges and responsibilities that I will take on. I feel more equipped now than I did at the beginning of the summer to try and fill the shoes of both Samira and Cameron.




Putting Down the Camera

The following blog was written by Aislinn Antrim, a rising Sophomore in the Bonner Leaders Program at the Campus Y.  Aislinn works at Rogers Road Community Center as a Bonner; she is working with Carolina for Amani this summer through the Bonner International Summer of Service internship. 

I’m a photojournalism and global studies double major, and my goal is to work in conflict and documentary photography, so I almost always have a camera glued to my side. When I went to France, I obsessively documented every museum and macaroon. Guatemala was more interesting, as I suddenly learned that not all cultures are as photo-obsessed as ours. Still, I was able to take almost as many photos as I wanted for the organization we worked for.

In Kenya, part of my job involved taking pictures of the children Aislinn at orphanage for their adoption profiles, so I was able to continue my love of travel and photography. Within the first few days, however, I realized that it’s nearly impossible to feed toddlers and hold a camera. At first, I alternated between photography and feedings, trying to balance both jobs. While I was somewhat successful, I wasn’t enjoying or soaking in either job and ended up being frazzled all day.

Finally, in Kisumu, both of my camera batteries died. I’d apparently forgotten to charge them, and while I was at first irritated, I eventually realized how great it was to take a day off and simply play with the kids. For the entire day, I pushed them on the swings instead of photographing them, and balanced them on bikes instead of switching lenses. This Aislinn landscapewas the day when I really learned their unique personalities, finally telling the difference between the twins, Jodie and Julie. While I had to continue taking photos the next day, I came away with the realization that taking a break from the camera allows me to get closer to a situation, and truly knowing the people can improve my understanding of cultures as well as my own photography.



2016 Career Explorers

This blog was written byEmpPOWERment Faculty and Staff, including Bella Hernandez, a rising Sophomore  in the Bonner Leaders Program at the Campus Y.  Bella works at EmPOWERment as a Bonner; she is working with EmPOWERment this summer through the Bonner NC  Summer of Service internship. 

Thursday kicked off EmPOWERment’s 12th annual Career Explorers program, that pairs youth between the ages of 16 to 22 from Orange County  neighborhoods with local businesses for paid summer internships.

Through Career Explorers, students gain valuable first-hand job experience and develop skills from direct exposure in the work field. After a selective application process designed to discover the characteristics, experiences and skills of each individual, the students were excited to finally begin the program. During the kick-off meeting, the interns met with the program’s administrators to go over guidelines and expectations along with details relating to their specific job placement. It was inspiring to see multiple ambitious young people committed to spending 8 weeks of their summers in pursuit of real-world work experience. Boomerang is a non-profit organization that seeks to engage young adults and their community. More information about Boomerang and their community influence can be found on their facebook page.

Shayne, a Boomerang employee, described the company as a comfortable environment enabling young adults to develop useful skills relating to “communication, self-expression, healthy relationships and personal growth.” Boomerang’s presence is undeniably felt in the community, and their partnership with EmPOWERment will benefit both parties.

Delores Bailey, the Executive Director at EmPOWERment, spoke with pride about the participants in the Career Explorers program. Several of the interns in the past have even accepted full time positions with the business they were paired with during the program. Mrs. Bailey shared that local businesses are challenged to find eager employees who have unique skills that will be useful to them.

For many students, finding meaningful employment after graduation is a challenge, but Career Explorers acts as a catalyst for graduates who are looking for an occupation to fit their interests and financial needs. Connecting local businesses with a fresh and talented workforce is more important than ever. Career Explorers is a unique initiative that mutually benefits both the interns and the companies that they work for. EmPOWERment, Inc. is excited for the ways this program will shape the lives of the participants.

Community Partners/Community Business who hired our Interns

Law Office of Chris Barnes: http://www.chrisbarneslaw.com

Eric Hallman: http://pfap.virb.com

Dixon Pit owner of Lumina Theatre: http://www.thelumina.com

Jon Mills owner of LunaPops: http://lunapops.com

OWASA: https://www.owasa.org

WCH Radio: http://chapelboro.com/wchl

Antwine Jackson owner of Enitech: http://www.enitechsolutions.com

Career Explorers program is sponsored in part by:

Strowd Roses Foundation

Family Success Alliance

For more information, check out:  http://www.empowermentinc-nc.org/