School has started back up at the University for another semester and the new Northside Elementary School has finally reopened. This has been a very exciting time. At the direction of the Compass Group, we engaged in a new student welcome strategy this semester. We wanted to try and prevent some of the conflicts that arise between long-term residents and students because of noise and trash problems. With eight different community members, over a period of a couple of weeks, we visited student houses to welcome them to the neighborhood. We would engage them on what it means to be a good neighbor, and how they can volunteer and give back to the community.
In continuing efforts of outreach to students, one of our Bonner Interns, Zack, created a flyer specifically for students about the history of Northside and the Jackson Center with the goal of ensuring that every single student in the neighborhood knows they are living in Northside and what it means to live here. We have collected around fifty student contacts around the neighborhood to contact around future events. We have also seen a huge drop in the problems created by student households. There have been less police reports filed about loud parties, neighbors have been saying that they have not been having as many issues, and the university is also reporting that it seems better than previous years and even previous weeks.
We plan to continue reaching out to students to get them engaged in where they live. We have teamed up with the Celebrating Home team to put together a potluck on Lindsay street on November 7th as a way to continue to forge these connections because students can be powerful allies to the neighborhood if we engage with them in a constructive way.
This is also Chancellor Folt’s first semester at the University. The Compass Group decided that it was important to welcome her to the University and the community. Different neighbors wrote her letters congratulating her, informing her of some of Northside’s history, and inviting her to be an ally of
this community in Chapel Hill. We hope we can continue to build a relationship with her since Northside and the University are so deeply and historically connected.
We are continuing our partnerships with existing organizations,such as Habitat for Humanity and the Good Neighbors Initiative. We have helped connect a half dozen residents in need of home repairs with Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness Program and are helping organize volunteers for a November home repair in the neighborhood. These are all very exciting work that we want to continue to engage with to continue improving aspects of the community.
Above: Volunteers participating in Brush with Kindness on Lindsay Street.
Finally, we are excited to begin new outreach efforts to build in Pine Knolls and other parts of Northside that we are less connected to. We are so excited in continuing our work in this community that we have fallen in love with to figure out how better to work with neighborhood leaders, and bring in new people who are not yet active in the work that looks to preserve the historical integrity, increase diversity, and advance the vitality of Northside and the other neighboring communities.