Around the Quad

News on economic impact, sustainability and community concerts

The Heart of Business

Students Succeed in Social Entrepreneurship

The statewide social entrepreneurship winners showcase their work UNC Asheville students Madison Eddings and Ben Eisdorfer were awarded the grand prize from the 2015 UNC Social Entrepreneurship Conference—$3,000 to launch their business idea, Pro(TECH)t, wearable technology designed to prevent campus assault.

Eddings, a sophomore majoring in biology, and Eisdorfer, a sophomore management student, competed against undergraduate teams from all 17 UNC system schools. The UNC Social Entrepreneurship Conference challenges students to identify some of North Carolina’s most pressing social problems, then take a business-oriented approach to solving them. Teams were judged based on market analysis and sustainability, social impact potential, and likelihood of success, as well as their formal presentation and question-and-answer session.

“The success of these excellent students at this year’s competition demonstrates the value of interdisciplinarity and the liberal arts for the development of skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and communication,” said Edward Katz, associate provost and dean of university programs at UNC Asheville.

“It also reflects the dedication and quality of our outstanding faculty and staff, who worked intensively with our students throughout the academic year to prepare for the event,” he said.

Eddings and Eisdorfer began their development of Pro(TECH)t in an interdisciplinary studies course at UNC Asheville on the fundamentals of project and business-plan development, taught by a team of faculty leaders. The class culminated with a campus-wide competition judged by local entrepreneurs. Two teams—Pro(TECH)t and the CPR-training business HeartRacers—advanced to the state competition. 

Eddings and Eisdorfer plan to immediately invest their winnings into a patent for their device, which will feature real-time GPS that can be activated to send a signal to campus police when a wearer feels threatened.

The course, Social Entrepreneurship:  Your Ideas in Action, will be taught again in upcoming fall semesters.

The Outdoor Sound of Music

Concerts on the Quad Return Summer 2015

UNC Asheville’s Concerts on the Quad, once a fixture of Asheville’s summer calendar, will return in 2015. This summer’s lineup will feature five free concerts on UNC Asheville’s Quad, spanning many musical genres, and will include shows by two local Asheville bands.

During its first 28 years, Concerts on the Quad had become a Monday-night tradition for many in greater Asheville, bringing thousands to campus before the series ended at the close of the 2010 season due to lack of continued funding. Thanks to the financial support of community partners Mission Health and the Asheville Citizen-Times, UNC Asheville will be able to present the concerts once again, starting this June with Asheville-based Sirius.B, a large and eclectic ensemble. 

College Credit

UNC Asheville Announces Dual Enrollment Agreement with Asheville City Schools

Students of Asheville High School and SILSA (School of Inquiry & Life Sciences at Asheville) will be able to take courses at UNC Asheville while still in high school, beginning next fall as part of a new dual enrollment agreement signed in February. 

“What this means is that students from the Asheville City Schools, in addition to the excellent work that’s happening there, will be able to take real college courses for real college credits, which expedites the time toward a degree and exposes them to a higher level of work,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant.

“We are excited that our students will be able to extend their learning throughout their tenure here at Asheville City Schools and work with a wonderful university. This is an opportunity for exposure to college. ... Our students will know there’s an avenue for success.”—Pamela Baldwin, Asheville City Schools Superintendent

Chancellor Belcher from WCU, Chancellor Grant, and President King from A-B Tech announce a $2 billion economic impact from public institutions in WNC.Educational Value

Statewide Study Shows Higher Education Drives the Economy

Public higher education institutions in Western North Carolina injected at least $2 billion into the state economy during the 2012–13 fiscal year through the combined impact of payroll, operational, construction and research expenditures by universities and community colleges, and the spending habits of our students, visitors and alumni. Of this $2 billion, roughly 75 percent or $1.52 billion remained right here in the 11 counties of WNC (Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Swain and Transylvania).

Those are among the findings of a comprehensive study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) to examine the impact of higher education on North Carolina. The EMSI study examined the combined impact of the University of North Carolina system, North Carolina Community College system and private institutions, and also assessed the impact of individual UNC campuses, private colleges and community colleges on their local economies.

Educational leaders in the WNC region joined together on Feb. 20, in a collaborative celebration at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, to share specific impacts, including added income, equivalent job creation, and the benefits generated for students, taxpayers and North Carolina as a whole.

“This study makes real for all of us the extraordinary long-term benefits to North Carolina of investing in top-quality higher education. The financial return-on-investment is substantial, but it is really only part of the story: Graduates from all of our institutions are making a crucial difference in the civic and social fabric of our society, every single day,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant.

“This study demonstrates how vital public higher education is to North Carolina’s economy,” said UNC Asheville Board of Trustees Chair King Prather. “It’s compelling evidence that UNC Asheville, as a great liberal arts university, is an engine of regional growth and economic vitality, and contributes meaningfully to the economic, social and environmental sustainability and health of the state.”

Lighting the Way

Energy-Efficient Upgrades Bring Cost Savings

UNC Asheville is undertaking a $3.2 million project to upgrade the majority of all indoor and exterior lighting on campus to energy-efficient LED fixtures, as part of a University of North Carolina system-wide campaign to reduce the energy intensity of its facilities by 30 percent between 2002 and 2015. The project, estimated to save at least $468,000 in energy costs per year, is expected to be completed by the end of May, with utilities savings guaranteed and used to pay back the debt incurred. The lighting upgrade initiative is projected to save at least $3.5 million annually across 12 of the system’s campuses.

Case Studies

Websites, Videos and Publications Earn Awards

UNC Asheville Magazine was recognized at the annual conference of the southeast region of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), earning an award of excellence in the Magazine I category and special merit in magazine improvement for the fall 2013 redesign. In addition, UNC Asheville earned top honors with a grand award for the website redesign, special merit for the recruitment video, an award of excellence for the 30-second commercial Experience UNC Asheville, special merit for the fundraising publication Investing in Success, and special merit for media relations about The Virtual Lincoln Project.