Around the Quad

A Taste of What’s New in the Dining Hall

This fall, UNC Asheville students have a new dining experience, in a familiar place—with the opening of the renovated Brown Hall on August 21. The renovations come as part of UNC Asheville’s new 10-year contract with Chartwells, funded primarily through a $3 million investment by Chartwells.

“The renovated space is very Asheville,” says Senior Director of Dining Services Emily Williams. “We used reclaimed materials and commissioned local artists to construct the community tables. We also created areas to make students feel at home, such as the ‘relax’ space that mirrors a residential area.”

“We met with the designers early on to hear the overall changes, then again to see the details. We discussed everything about the dining hall from traffic flow to lighting choices,” said political science major Rachel Collman, a member of the Dining Services Student
Advisory Group. “It looks like it will be a more comfortable and welcoming space that will feel less like a cafeteria.”

The expanded open space adds 100 seats indoors and outdoors, as well as a hydroponic herb wall. 

Recent renovations also have been completed to Highsmith Union Food Court, The DownUnder in Overlook Hall, Argo Tea in Ramsey Library, and Rosetta’s Kitchenette in the Sherrill Center’s Wellness Cafe.

Graduates Earn Fulbright Scholarships

Four Awards Bring UNC Asheville’s total to 42 Scholars

Gillian ScruggsSam Moser Hannah ClarkKyle Cavagnini

Recent graduates Kyle Cavagnini ’14, Hannah Clark ’14, Sam Moser ’14 and Gillian Scruggs ’11 have been selected for prestigious Fulbright Scholarships, which fund research and teaching experiences abroad. The four were selected this spring for the quality of their proposals and their academic and professional achievements, among other factors. These scholarships, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, have now been awarded to 42 students and graduates of UNC Asheville.

Cavagnini will travel to Norway to research neuropathic disorders, building from his double-major in chemistry and philosophy and extensive undergraduate research. Clark will teach in Germany, a good fit for her double major in German and psychology. International studies major Moser will teach in South Korea, a country he first visited during a summer study abroad experience. Scruggs was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Brazil to teach English, but she has decided instead to accept what she calls her dream job at the Alzar School in Idaho, where she will teach Advanced Spanish, AP World History, AP U.S. History, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, and lead trips to Chile twice a year to promote international cultural awareness.

Campus Growth 

Land Purchases Expand UNC Asheville’s Acreage 

The UNC Asheville Foundation continues to acquire land on behalf of the university, including the newest property located on Zillicoa Street. 

The August purchase from Highland Park LLC comes at a reduced price of $1.1 million as part of a gift to the university. It includes two tracts: 4.5 acres near the corner of Zillicoa Street and 2.5 acres that border six acres of land acquired in January from the Odyssey Community School. UNC Asheville also owns 9.3 acres at the 525 Broadway Property, acquired in 2011 from TD Bank when the former Health Adventure children’s museum development filed for bankruptcy. A portion of the property has been developed as part of the Reed Creek Greenway, providing a section of a route that will further connect the campus to downtown Asheville.

“UNC Asheville currently has little room for expansion and the remaining undeveloped property on campus would be difficult and costly to develop because it lacks flat building sites. So when property that is close to campus becomes available, the university makes every effort to acquire that land for future growth,” said John Pierce, vice chancellor for finance and campus operations. 

The university will determine use of the land through the ongoing campus master-planning process.

Reaching new heights of Sustainability

Solar Panels Top Overlook Hall

Director of Sustainability Sonia Marcus introduces students to the newest addition to Overlook Hall—112 photovoltaic (PV) panels donated from Strata Solar. The rooftop panels are connected to the university’s electrical grid, with the capacity to power about 300 laptop computers—making it a perfect fit for the residence hall.

Civic Learning and Leadership

Provost Joe Urgo Brings Expertise in the Liberal Arts

Joe UrgoJoe Urgo has been named UNC Asheville’s interim provost, filling a vacancy created when Provost Jane Fernandes joined Guilford College as its president on July 1, 2014. 

A former senior fellow with the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Urgo has also served as president at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, dean of faculty at Hamilton College, and department chair in English at the University of Mississippi and at Bryant University. He is an advocate for liberal arts education as a matter of national defense and civic responsibility, topics he blogs about for The Huffington Post.

Urgo’s familiarity with UNC Asheville stems from the prior academic year, when he taught a literature classroom session and participated in a faculty learning circle on “Defending the Liberal Arts.” He also has worked with the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), which is headquartered at UNC Asheville, and assisted in the planning of a civic learning/civic engagement initiative. 

Sustainable Investments

McCullough Institute Provides Research Funding for Students

New media major Bryan Smith at work in NEMAC’s downtown engagement site.The McCullough Institute for Conservation, Land Use and Environmental Resiliency launched at UNC Asheville in June, thanks to a $1 million endowment commitment from Dr. Charles T. McCullough Jr. and his wife, Shirley Anne McCullough, to promote environmental study and service. 

The institute’s mission begins with students—two have been named to McCullough Institute Student Internships, under the supervision of the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). New media major Bryan Smith and sociology and anthropology major Stacie Toropova work with local organizations on issues surrounding natural resources, quality of life and the long-term health of the region, including an examination of local and regional food assets and food security. Their work has the potential to assist governments, interest groups and the public in identifying, managing and enhancing the southern Appalachian area’s unique human and natural vitality. 

“I’m so glad the opportunity arose to work on the Southern Appalachian Vitality Index,” said Smith, a senior. “The project, a product of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB), is an education in the inter- woven nature of human existence within a unique culture, topography and climate across seven states. The lessons learned reach from sociology to economics to ecology and beyond. It is a liberal arts education enveloped by the mountains of the South.”