Sorority Returns to Campus

Phi Mu back to recruiting today

September 2007

After a five-year hiatus, Phi Mu sorority is returning to campus. Former low membership and financial problems caused the sorority to close its doors.

The sorority will host events throughout September to attract potential members, including having representatives in the Pit and around campus today through Friday in its official kickoff.

By spring, Phi Mu aims to have the Gamma Lambda chapter requirements – such as gaining at least 125 members – finalized. This will formally reinstate the chapter at UNC.

“Phi Mu is building the chapter from the ground up,” said Christy Todd, extension coordinator for Phi Mu.

The sorority, which was founded nationally in 1852, has received aid from the Panhellenic Council throughout its recolonization process.

“The entire Panhellenic Council has been incredibly supportive of Phi Mu’s return to campus,” Todd said.

Jenny Levering, assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority life, also has been helping the sorority throughout the recolonization process, and Levering said her office has worked in conjunction with the Phi Mu national office.

“It is a completely fresh start,” she said. “The members have spent a lot of time building up alumni, getting interest groups around UNC, and are very dedicated to all that they do.”

Because Phi Mu has a different way of beginning its rush process, the chapter could not join rush week earlier this year.

“The Panhellenic Council and Phi Mu agreed upon a delayed recruitment period for Phi Mu because the process of colonization is different from traditional formal recruitment,” Todd said.

The sorority’s recruitment week will be from Sept. 24 to Sept. 28, during which representatives will conduct personal interviews with interested prospective members.

Todd said those who uphold Phi Mu’s ideals and values will be selected for personal meetings with Phi Mu representatives.

By fall of next year, Phi Mu plans to be an established chapter on campus, as well as part of the regular recruitment process like the other sororities and fraternities, officials said.

Bid day for this year’s recruitment will be Sept. 29. At that time, women who have gone through personal interviews and other initiation steps will be selected to join the sorority.

Although the sorority isn’t an official chapter yet, Todd said she has enjoyed the experience of assisting in building the group from scratch at UNC.

“Becoming a colonizing member of a chapter is truly a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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Speech Launches AIDS Week

Personal stories shared at event

November 2007

There is a global killer that touches even UNC’s campus. It kills more than 3 million people a year and continues to tally lives. This murderer is the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, commonly known as AIDS.

When more than 10 campus organizations banded together to kick off World AIDS Week on Monday, about 30 students came together to hear thoughts on AIDS prevention and emotional stories.

The ceremony Monday started with a discussion by Dr. Charles van der Horst, a UNC professor of medicine and AIDS doctor. He has been researching AIDS since 1981 and continues research and treatment in South Africa.

Van der Horst said educating children about sexually transmitted diseases, anatomy and relationships in elementary through high school is an important first step toward preventing the spread of the infection.

Helping those who have recently changed their sexual orientations and might fall prey to sexual predators and putting clinics with professional health care workers in middle and high schools are the other two top actions Horst suggested.

Terri Phoenix, director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender-Straight Alliance, spoke about the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Developed in 1987, the quilt is the largest community art project in the world and takes up 275 NCAA basketball courts. Only 19 percent of AIDS deaths in the United States are represented on the quilt.

Family and friends of those who have succumbed to the AIDS virus can make a quilt panel honoring that person.

“There are four panels on the quilt that represent close friends of mine,” Phoenix said.

About 30 people gathered for the event – many with personal stories and great passion for AIDS awareness.

“I feel real strongly about the cause,” freshman Kelley Mathys said. “I have been interested in AIDS/HIV awareness for a while. . We need to teach kids early. People don’t realize they have (AIDS) and continue to spread it.”

Monday’s event was part of an AIDS awareness week that aims to bring information to the forefront of people’s minds and remember those whose lives were taken by the virus.

“World AIDS Week is a week-long program that occurs because AIDS is something that is affecting humanity today,” said Elizabeth Bernold, president of N.C. Hillel, one of the event’s sponsors. “It creates a connection between the student body.”

Bernold said she cared more about what people took away from the events taking place on campus than the number of attendees.

“It’s the personal connections, not the numbers, that are important,” she said.

And the different groups sponsoring this week’s events also are making connections through their collective efforts.

“What was most impressive about this project is the humanity shared,” Bernold said. “All these groups working together is incredible and brings commonalities between them.”

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Students Voice their Smoking Concerns

September 2007

A University policy that would ban smoking near campus buildings has some students fuming and others sighing with relief.

The ban, which was proposed by UNC’s administration, would abolish smoking within a 100-foot radius of every campus building, leaving few smoking zones around campus. The Faculty Council passed a resolution supporting the 100-foot ban, and the Employee Forum is reviewing the impact of the ban. But students have yet to voice their opinions in a substantiative way.

With that in mind, student leaders have organized two forums for tonight and Wednesday to address the proposed ban. “We hope to show students how policies can affect their lives and provide them with the information to make their own decisions on these policies,” said J.J. Raynor, president of the Roosevelt Institution, one of the host organizations.

The forums also are sponsored by the executive branch of student government and the Campus Y committee Table Talk. The smoking ban proposal has sparked various responses from the student body.

Junior Amanda Rehburg, who smokes occasionally, said the ban would be a huge inconvenience and won’t encourage anyone to quit. “If they want a change with smoking habits, then the University should come up with a better idea,” she said.

Other students said they believe that the smoking policy should be carried out because it will benefit the campus. “I think it’s a health hazard, and some people should respect that. It smells really bad, and it’s not appealing,” freshman Arianna Hawn said.

The proposal follows a UNC Hospitals’ smoking ban, which went into effect this summer. Sophomore Aimee Davis said she believes there are more important things to worry about than a smoking ban. “Do I agree with it? Not so much,” she said. “I think they should worry more about the hard drugs that circulate this campus instead of cigarettes.”

Some students said they disagree with the ban, claiming that the University is trying to limit students’ personal decisions. “The University seems as if it has too much control over student’s personal health decisions,” said freshman Sarah Brock, a nonsmoker.

Some nonsmokers who oppose the proposed ban said smoking is a personal decision. “I don’t like the smoke at all; it bothers me,” said freshman Kayla McCormick, also a nonsmoker. “But it is OK as long as it’s not influencing anyone around you.”

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