2013 Special Merit Awards

Boston Carolina Club (ACC Collaboration)

I think our club continued to grow with new folks coming out for events and we are spearheading trying to launch all ACC events in Boston from helping to organize the football championship event which was coupled with a toy/item drive for the holidays to organizing the all ACC fundraiser event after the marathon bombing. We are trying to build a camaraderie between schools so that we can help each other grow.

China Carolina Club – Shanghai (Most Engaged International Club)
We are one of the most active Carolina Clubs outside U.S. We embraced a roster of 120 alumni in Shanghai and hosts monthly activities to make the community closer. We have alumni graduated each year from 2000-2013.

Cabarrus/Rowan Carolina Club – (Outstanding Student Send-off Recetion) GAA Staff Submission
The Cabarrus/Rowan Carolina Club had a record year and hosted a wonderfully successful student send-off reception at the Kannapolis Intimidators baseball game. They hosted 87 guests, including 26 new Carolina Students. Chris Griffin ’91 and his team worked to find sponsors for the event and made sure that every student walked away with a Carolina door prize and a plate full of food!  This event is a benchmark for the experience we would love to see each and every new Tar Heel have before leaving their cities and heading to Chapel Hill.  Great Job, Cab/Row Club!

Cumberland County (Reactivation Excellence) GAA Staff Submission
Because the club reactivated only a couple of months prior to due date they were not required to submit the annual report. In those few short months the club organized a relaunch social event with Doug Dibbert, a Wine and Design event and began planning a Carolina send-off party with local parents (the send-off occurred in the subsequent club year). Along the way, the new club leaders (Kim Richardson ’06 and Erika Taylor ’11) built momentum for the club by talking face-to-face with area alumni they knew, and by getting on the phone to make personal invites to alumni in their area. We’re confident in saying that this club is a model for others when reactivating a previously dormant Carolina Club.

Fearrington Village Carolina Club (Scholarship Fundraising)
Our annual Scholarship Fund drive is the most important work we do all year and is predicated on the fact that any money spent to educate a young person is a sound investment. Our Board agreed to a goal of $3,000.00 and raised a record-setting $4,250.00, allowing us to fund four rather than three $1,000.00 scholarships with $250.00 in seed money for jump starting our 2013-14 drive. FVCC club co-founder, past-president and perpetual leader of our Scholarship Fund success Philip Cree had committed early on to lead the charge again. As the campaign began, Philip’s health took a turn for the worst, and he was unable to fulfill his leadership commitment. Fellow club co-founder Farrel Potts stepped in, leading club members to contribute an unprecedented amount for four deserving students. We believe the outpouring came in honor of the example Philip set for life-changing service to others. Philip died on July 2, 2013, but was aware of the continuing success of the Scholarship Fund drive, which will forever be associated with his memory.

Staff note: As impressive as this accomplishment is on it’s own it’s even more impressive when you recognize that there are only about 120 alumni total in the Fearrington Village Carolina Club. The Fearrington Village club has consistently raised more money per capita than any other Carolina Club over the past few years. Finally, the FVCC has renamed their scholarship in honor of Philip Cree. It will henceforth be known as the Philip R. Cree/Fearrington Village Carolina Club Scholarship.

Puget Sound Carolina Club (Volunteer Engagement)
Our biggest accomplishment this past year was raising $1,400 for the Puget Sound Carolina Club Scholarship despite lower-than-usual attendance at our annual BBQ. We only had about 25 attendees at the BBQ this year, compared to 50 in previous years (lower attendance in 2013 can be attributed to several factors, such as several attendees’ disappointment in the 2012 BBQ resulting from a bad experience with the caterer, in addition to generally lower interest throughout Spring due to the performance of the basketball team, etc.), yet, through the hard work of our volunteers, we were able to keep costs low by doing much of the catering work ourselves. As a result, the more of the ticket revenue was able to be put towards the scholarship rather than payment of event expenses. Our $1,400 Scholarship for 2013 compares to only a $500 in 2012 and typical averages ranging between $500 and $1,000. I’d like to nominate one of our BBQ volunteers, Katy Hall, for a Special Merit Award due to her hard work making all of the BBQ in addition to bidding on several items at the auction. She also made a $500 personal donation to the scholarship outside of the auction contribution. All of her efforts were instrumental in ensuring the success of the Annual BBQ and Scholarship Fundraiser.

Washington, D.C. Black Alumni Carolina Club (Connecting Alumni)
Our club has been successful over the past few years in providing programs and activities for our alumni living in the DC metro area. We’ve been recognized by GAA for the past two years as one of the university’s outstanding alumni clubs. However, one challenge that our board has faced has been increasing the diversity of our alumni participants. We always could count on our younger alumni to support and participate in activities. This past year, our board sought to reach a more diverse population of our alumni and I believe that we were able to achieve this in numerous ways.

We diversified our programming and organized events with more families in mind. One particular success was our tour of the Frederick Douglass house. Strategically scheduling this tour on a Saturday afternoon and also offering lunch allowed us to have an event more conducive to alumni with families. Another event was Jazz in the Garden. By touting the “picnic” opportunities due to the physical location of the event we were able to have a family come out and socialize with alums while exposing their young child to a cultural event. Our Washington Wizards – New York Knicks game allowed families the opportunity to spend quality time with one another, socialize with the Heels, and also support two alums playing for the Knicks (Raymond Felton and Rasheed Wallace).

A significant component to helping the board realize this goal was the deployment of our first ever alumni survey. This survey allowed the board to access alumni responses regarding types of programs, communication preferences, and barriers to participation. I believe that our alums were impressed, not only with the professional style of the survey, but the intentional effort made by the board to develop and organize programs with our alums’ needs in mind. In looking back over the year, I can confidently say that not only did our level of participation increase, but the diversity of our participants did as well.

Submissions for Special Merit awards are accepted each year on the annual report.  More than twenty nominations were brought forth to the GAA board and the seven above were selected.