UNC places a high degree of emphasis on community service by its student-athletes. A wide range of activities aids many sectors of the community, lending helping hands and enthusiasm while presenting Carolina student-athletes as outstanding role models.
At the same time, the outreach activities benefit student-athletes, who practice leadership and servitude, bond with teammates, and build contacts and experience that may help them as they pursue internships and jobs.
Carolina Outreach is the driving force behind the community service effort of UNC student-athletes. One or two members of each team meet monthly to brainstorm and plan for activities, some of which are generated by the student-athlete ideas and interests and others which come about as the result of requests from local entities. Carolina Athletics works closely with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham school systems and UNC Hospitals, as well as organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, Durham Social Services, Special Olympics and Adopt-A-Highway.
"There are so many benefits to the outreach that our student-athletes do," said Cricket Lane, Associate Director of Athletics for Student-Athlete Development and the administrator who oversees Carolina Outreach. "As they help others, they're learning, too. With academic and team responsibilities, their calendars are already very full, and we're proud that they make time for the number of service hours that they do."
Last year, UNC student-athletes dedicated more than 2,000 hours to service activities, but it appears that number will rise in 2013-14. During the month of September alone, Tar Heels donated nearly 500 hours of their time to outreach activities.