UNC-Chapel Hill trustees begin their May
meeting by welcoming their newest member: student body president Bradley Opere.
It’s a great privilege and an honor to be here today. I think the fact that we
have a student sworn in as a member – a voting member – to the board of trustees
underlines the importance we place on student leadership that distinguishes
Carolina as a great institution. Chancellor Carol Folt also sees many things
that distinguish Carolina, including the arts, which she wants to play an even
greater role. How can you make a campus that arts take place everywhere, where
you see art everywhere, where it’s such a deeply-embedded part of the Carolina
experience? To help accomplish that goal, Folt announced the appointment of Emil King as special assistant to the Chancellor for the Arts, a cabinet-level
position. Kang will continue in his current role overseeing Carolina
Performing Arts. Food is really at the heart of life. Also on the trustees’ agenda was another
issue receiving campus-wide attention: food, and a presentation from the
organizers of the campus theme food for all. The public health challenges range
from economic health disparities, hunger, food insecurity, and then we have all the
environmental issues that are related to food production, and then on the other
side of the equation, we have obesity, chronic disease. All these point to why
food is our academic theme and why it’s such an important and vibrant issue for
our Carolina Community. In addition, Food for All organizers outlined their ambitions to
give studies related to food a more permanent place on campus in the future. Trustees also learned of one of the most
visible examples of Carolina’s focus on issues surrounding food. Edible Campus
is a program whose gardens are spread all around campus. Any person can go up
anytime to any of the edible campus gardens, grab a snack and keep on walking. We’re hoping that these gardens help people think
differently about the food system and their role in it. Most people pass through landscapes very passively. We want people to see landscapes as part of the
educational process, not just the place where education happens. A vision of
Carolina that takes advantage of each acre as a place for teaching took center
stage as trustees wrapped up their May proceedings. Using the campus as an
educational space everywhere, whether it’s teaching about food, using your
landscape, having art in all parts of the campus, thinking about architecture as
another performance space. All of those are really working together, and that’s
that’s what it feels like on campus right now, very innovative, very creative.
Trustees will gather again in July.