Meghan Lyons, UNC Chapel Hill SAAC President, takes some time to share all the great work the UNC 
student-athletes have been up to this past semester.

As the fall athletic seasons come to an end, UNC student-athletes took time to reflect on all the events, games, 5Ks, school readings, field days, academics—and much more that student-athletes took part in this past fall. What a season it was! Not only did we have a fabulous athletic season, and especially this year, the overwhelming commitment to the university community has reached another level. 

During October, many UNC teams, administrators, and community members took a strong part in transforming Chapel Hill into a pink zone—representing our commitment to helping spread the word about National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In addition to hosting a “wear pink” day for all student-athletes and administrators, the football, field hockey, gymnastics, and women’s soccer teams hosted “Turn it Pink” games to support this effort. Both football and field hockey worked in conjunction with our own campus organization, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer to put on this event.

Carolina Dreams, a student-athlete group serving the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, has hosted various events already this fall, and expanded to host additional programs. The group has hosted two football games and a volleyball game in which they invite children from the UNC Hospitals and their families to spend time with student-athletes and enjoy a light dinner, before attending a UNC Athletic Event. Most recently, the group has developed a “Heel Date” program in which a children from the hospital who is well enough to experience a fun day out, will be selected to spend a day with a chosen Carolina student athlete. It has been a great success, and we have already hosted the first Heel Date with Men’s Basketball player Tyler Zeller.

The Men’s Tennis team ran last weekend in the 4th Annual Eve Carson Memorial 5K for Education. This race, held annually, is especially unique to the Tar Heel experience and tradition. Three years ago, this race was founded in honor of former Student Body President, Eve Marie Carson. She was widely known for her commitment to outstanding leadership and community service, as well as a passion for the university and its students. Her loss was deeply felt on March 5, 2008, but this race and various other Eve Carson campus events live on the memory of Eve and all she accomplished and was known for while at UNC.

Through the Carolina Leadership Academy, UNC student-athletes are given the opportunity to listen to several outstanding and motivational speakers throughout the year as “Life Skills Presentations”—this year was no exception. In October, we listened to Joe Erhmann, “Coach for America” speak to us about “Sports and Gender.” No one knew what to expect, walking into a talk with this title. Joe was outstanding and incredibly moving. We hope to have him back at UNC in the future! As a result of this compelling Life Skills presentation, UNC student-athletes have chosen to take part in the nation-wide “It Gets Better” video project.

Heading into the holiday season, many teams have already signed up to take part in a “Share Your Holiday Project,” with each team adopting a family in need and providing each family with holiday presents from the team, in addition to cards and other gifts from the teams. This is one of the projects student-athletes look forward to every year, and we have a record number of teams participating this year, including: volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse, tennis, golf, baseball, swimming and diving, and rowing. 

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