Around the Quad

News on Sustainability Efforts, Partnerships and Important Conversations

The Bee Hotel sits by UNC Asheville’s pollinator garden on University Heights.Buzzing Around Campus

You may have already seen one of UNC Asheville’s newest sustainability projects on your way into campus. That structure of wooden boxes stacked together under a sloped steel roof, sitting by the pollinator gardens on University Heights, is really one of Asheville’s hottest new hotels—for pollinators. The Bee Hotel is a shelter for solitary bees and other pollinators on campus that will take up temporary residence in the exposed ends of bamboo poles, hollow flower stems and cardboard rolls that fill the box modules. Built through a partnership with Asheville Design Center, the unique structure also is an educational tool to be used by the human community at UNC Asheville, with spaces built in for informational displays and even art projects, giving the community another way to interact with the Bee Hotel.

Faith in Literature

Festival Features Conversations for On Being

Two sold-out conversations with Krista Tippett, host of the public radio program On Being, headlined UNC Asheville’s first Faith in Literature Festival, jointly convened with the Wake Forest University School of Divinity with radio productions thanks to WCQS—Western North Carolina Public Radio. The two-day event from Oct. 21-22 brought together 14 writers of the spirit, whose work deeply engages—by embracing, complicating, or wrestling with—a faith tradition or spiritual practice. 

Rick Chess in conversation with Alicia Jo Rabins, Laurie Patton and Amy Gottlieb in the Laurel Forum.Among those authors, poets and playwrights reading and discussing their work were poet Marilyn Nelson, a chancellor in The Academy of American Poets, and Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, who received the 2015 National Humanities Medal from President Obama just a month before the event. 

“For many years, I’ve been dreaming of organizing an event that would bring together a group of first-rate writers who deal seriously and honestly with the spiritual and religious life,” said Rick Chess, a poet and writer who is the Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts and Sciences, director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UNC Asheville, and author of Third Temple. “I don’t know what it’s like for other folks who take their spiritual and religious lives seriously, but I’ve always turned to the work of poets, fiction and nonfiction writers as part of my own spiritual and artistic life. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to feature the life of the spirit and literature in this festival.”

Conference co-organizers were Chess and Evan Gurney of UNC Asheville’s faculty, and Fred Bahnson from the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, with many partners and supporters.

Madeline DelpCrowning Achievement

Madeline Delp Competes in Miss Wheelchair America

UNC Asheville student Madeline Delp won First Runner Up in the Miss Wheelchair America pageant, after being named Miss Wheelchair North Carolina 2016. Now she has the opportunity to travel across the nation and state, sharing with others her ideas of “living boundless,” regardless of injury or condition.

A self-described adrenaline junky, Delp has already been zip-lining and skydiving and made two trips abroad to study and explore in Germany. And she’s got plans for much more. 

“I want to encourage people that they can do whatever they set their minds to, and push the limits,” Delp said.

She’s taking that message to the masses through a new video series, both informative and inspirational, from “how-to” tips to international travel advice, based on her time studying abroad.

“I like being able to inspire people that they can see the world,” she said.

Carla WillisWelcoming Carla Willis

UNC Asheville Names Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

Carla S. Willis, a 25-year veteran of higher-education fundraising, was named vice chancellor for university advancement at UNC Asheville on June 10, 2016. 

Willis brings to UNC Asheville an impressive track record of success in higher-education advancement. She comes to UNC Asheville from Kean University in Union, New Jersey, where she served as vice president for institutional advancement and president of the university foundation. In her time at Kean, Willis implemented a series of initiatives that helped the university exceed fundraising goals.

“Carla brings a wealth of experience and passion to this position, and it’s very exciting to have her on the team,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant. “She has a real enthusiasm for higher education and knows the importance of private support to ensure that college remains affordable and accessible. I look forward to all that we will accomplish together here at UNC Asheville.”

“This is an exciting time at UNC Asheville, and I am thrilled to join this vibrant academic community,” said Willis. “I look forward to leading advancement and, through collaborative efforts, achieving higher levels of philanthropic investment in the university.”

Michelle Lanier gave the Jesse and Julia Ray Lecture Series keynote  at the African Americans in Western North Carolina Conference.African Americans in WNC Conference

Discussions and Documentaries Shared at Third Annual Event

The third annual African Americans in Western North Carolina Conference brought together scholars and filmmakers in three days of dialogue and celebration at the YMI Cultural Center and UNC Asheville. 

The films introduced during the conference include Beneath the Veneer, which explores race, class and income mobility by taking a glimpse beneath the veneer of life in a progressive, affluent, Southern city as seen through the eyes of its “invisible black boys,” and Testify Beyond Place, a documentary film that pays homage to the Mount Zion AME Zion Church and its relationship to Western Carolina University.

In addition to honoring DeWayne Barton, founder and CEO of Hood Huggers International, the conference also partnered with Buncombe County’s Health and Human Services and Date My City to honor “Unsung Heroes,” recognizing African American and Latino leaders in the community. 

“The university is pleased to host this third conference on the history of African Americans in Western North Carolina,” said Darin Waters, assistant professor of history and conference organizer. “From its inception, the goal of the conference has been to raise awareness about the presence, and contributions of African Americans to the history and development of this region of our state and nation. This year’s conference provided further evidence of how this goal continues to be met. We are excited about the broad range of scholarship that is being done on the historical experiences of African Americans in this region.”

Headlines & Happenings

Keith WoodsNPR’s Vice President Speaks on Campus

Keith Woods, vice president for diversity in news and operations at NPR, came to campus just one month before the election, at a moment full of headlines, and what he calls dog whistles—those faint but distinct phrases apparent to those tuned to hear them. He shared his insights in a free public talk, along with workshops for faculty, staff and students in the Department of Mass Communication and WCQS, Western North Carolina Public Radio, which invited him for the visit. 

“Journalism’s job today is to cut through the rhetoric and help the public understand not just what was said but what was meant,” said Woods, who also led workshops with WCQS and UNC Asheville’s Department of Mass Communication, meeting with administrators, faculty and students.

Curriculum in the Community

Chancellor Mary K. Grant and UNC Asheville’s Title IX Coordinators with  Our VOICE Board President Nedra Wallace Wilson and Executive Director Angélica Wind.Leadership Program for Fire Fighters

UNC Asheville and the City of Asheville Fire Department have partnered to develop a leadership development program for fire fighters, delivered at the Asheville Fire Department headquarters in downtown Asheville. The program is administered by UNC Asheville’s Leadership Asheville program with faculty from several departments.

“We are excited about this partnership that will strengthen the leadership skills for our next generation of leaders in the City of Asheville Fire Department. This will also provide our rising leaders with a jump start on their pursuit for even more advanced academic accomplishments,” said Fire Chief Scott Burnette.

The six-course sequence totals 14 credit hours and includes courses on writing for professionals, organizational leadership, municipal finance and government, project management and a seminar in public management and leadership.

Collaborating to Stop Sexual Assault

UNC Asheville has partnered with Our VOICE and the fall semester launch of CODE RED, a new curriculum developed to end Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA) on college campuses. The CODE RED curriculum engages college-aged students in interactive activities, role-plays, workshops, and in-depth discussions that strive to prevent the occurrence of DFSA and sexual violence.

“We know that one solution that works is collaborating,” said Angélica Wind, executive director of Our VOICE. “This community, and this college campus community, is working with a rape crises center in ways that have not been seen across the nation. This program highlights what is right here, what is right in Asheville, and what is right in Western North Carolina. We together—UNC Asheville, Our VOICE, and the community of Buncombe County, are coming together to create a place where the prevention of sexual violence is a community priority.”

Our VOICE hopes to expand the program to additional local colleges and serve as a national model for preventing DFSA on college campuses.