Good Neighbor Initiative Readies for Year No. 13

The University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership have collaborated again to create The Good Neighbor Initiative for the 13th year in a row.

The Good Neighbor Initiative is an event filled with volunteers who go door to door in select neighborhoods to educate those residents on rules and regulations in their area.

Meg McGurk from the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership has been a part of this event for several years now and said they will visit around 1,000 houses on August 22.

“It can be everything from noise ordinances, where to take your trash cans and to bring them in at the end of the night, don’t park on the lawn, and also we are having this great block party later in September,” McGurk said. “We invite all the neighbors, both the students and the year-round residents to come together, share a meal and entertainment and activities, and really celebrate their own community.”

This initiative started to bring together students and year-round residents of the neighborhoods and encourage them to get to know one another and respect their shared community.

Director of Greek Life and Community Involvement for UNC Aaron Bachenheimer said they have expanded to some neighborhoods in Carrboro and want to continue to expand this program in the future.

“The expansion typically is driven by feedback from the neighborhoods so several years ago we started to see more and more calls, some noise concerns, some trash concerns, and the number of formally single-family homes that are now rentals may be in need of the Good Neighbor Initiative, shall we say,” Bachenheimer said.

The Good Neighbor Initiative door-to-door event will be held on the first day of classes on August, 22. The block party will be held on September 13 from five until nine o’clock in the evening at the Hargraves Community Center.

The organizers are still looking for more volunteers for both events. If you are interested in being involved, visit the UNC Campus Involvement page to sign up.

Be A “Good Neighbor” At Hargraves Thursday

You’re invited to the annual Good Neighbor Block Party, this Thursday at 5 pm at the Hargraves Community Center.

There will be free food, live music, games, prizes, and more – all to encourage a spirit of community and neighborliness at the start of UNC’s academic year. It’s part of the “Good Neighbor Initiative,” a joint effort between UNC, the Town of Chapel Hill, the Downtown Partnership, the Jackson Center, Empowerment Inc., the Chapel Hill PD, and numerous other downtown businesses and community partners.

Watch a video about the Good Neighbor Initiative here.

Aaron Bachenheimer is the director of UNC’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Community Involvement. He joined Aaron Keck on WCHL earlier this week.


The Block Party is free and everyone’s invited. Bachenheimer says it varies from year to year, but about 250 people typically turn out.

“Neighborhood Night Out” Welcomes Students, Residents

CHAPEL HILL – Thursday evening at the Hargraves Community Center, you’re invited to come out for the Good Neighbor Initiative’s annual Neighborhood Night Out and Block Party, an event designed to build connections between UNC students and Chapel Hill residents, particularly in neighborhoods near campus.

“We plan all year long for this program,” says Aaron Bachenheimer, UNC’s director of fraternity/sorority life and community involvement.

It’s a free event, co-sponsored by the Town of Chapel Hill, UNC-Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Empowerment, Inc., and LUX Chapel Hill (formerly Bicycle Apartments). Buns and Ben & Jerry’s will provide food; there’ll also be music, games, kids’ activities and prizes–plus information about local and community resources.

“It’s just a great event,” says Bachenheimer. “Get there early, because (at 5:00) we actually do a fun little community pride walk…(and) folks who participate get a free t-shirt and get first place in the food line.”

The Block Party is one of the biggest projects of the year for the Good Neighbor Initiative, which works all year long to promote strong relationships between longtime Chapel Hill residents and students living off-campus–especially in neighborhoods like Northside and Pine Knolls, where the influx of students has sparked some tension.

“We visit students and non-student residents and talk about what it’s like to live in a neighborhood, what community involvement and good neighborliness means, (and) some of the rights and responsibilities of living off-campus,” Bachenheimer says. “(And the Block Party) is a really important event, in terms of helping to set the tone of what it means to have a positive community relationship.”

Bachenheimer says the initiative has been successful, though there’s still work yet to be done. “These events make a difference,” he says. “They help inspire both the year-round residents and the students to reach out to one another, to get to know one another–which ultimately helps build relationships and improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.”

The Neighborhood Night Out and Block Party runs from 5-9 pm Thursday at the Hargraves Community Center, located at 216 N. Roberson Street. Bachenheimer says it usually draws several hundred attendees every year.

Chapel Hill Welcomes Students New And Old

Photo by Jennifer Lund

CHAPEL HILL – By Sunday, nearly 4,000 new faces will be settled into their new homes at UNC adding up to the total population of the University of more than 29,000 students, and the Town of Chapel Hill is once again hustling and bustling.

Executive Director of the Downtown Partnership, Meg McGurk, says local businesses and organizations are teaming together to make the transition for newcomers and their families as smooth as possible.

“We just produced a brand new downtown business guide and map that just came in last week that we’ve been distributing throughout the community,” McGurk says. “(We’re) giving it to all our visitors’ centers and all our businesses.”

That’s just one of the many things available to students and newcomers to the community.

And, she says move-in weekend doesn’t just benefit freshmen and transfer students. There are benefits for everyone returning to the Southern Part of Heaven.

“Businesses can offer discounts to students that show their ID,” McGurk says. “We’ve got the Good Neighbor Initiative kicking off next Monday where it’s a wonderful partnership that we welcome all of the students to the neighborhood throughout Downtown. We actually walk door-to-door.”

The Week of Welcome is meant to make the shock to the Town’s system a manageable one. Safety is a top priority, and McGurk says the Good Neighbor Initiative is a process to ensure that everyone in the community is taken care of.

McGurk says planning for this weekend started just as soon as the students left last year.

“Graduation weekend, when everyone leaves, we all kind of let out a sigh, and then we get right back into it,” McGurk says. “There isn’t much downtime for prepping for the next year, because that’s the cycle of our community as a college town. That’s what we do.”

And she says she this is one of her favorite times of year.

“It’s the weekend of graduation when the town kind of settles into the summer and it kind of goes back into the year-round residents kind of owning (their) own community,” McGurk says. “And then this weekend when the students come back and all of the energy and all of the vitality and all of the kind of enthusiasm of the new school year and new live just breathes back into our community, and I absolutely love it.”

For more information on the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, click here.

For more information on Week of Welcome, click here.