Order of the Bell Tower

Order of the Bell Tower logo

As the oldest GAA student group, Order of the Bell Tower (OBT) serves as the official student ambassadors and tradition keepers to the University. Through our events and services, we strive to connect past, present and future Tar Heels.

OBT was chartered in the fall of 1980 under the auspices of the GAA. Recognizing the need to strengthen the relationship between Carolina students and alumni, GAA then-Assistant Director Bo Dunlap ’64 and Student Body President Bob Saunders ’81 initiated the idea and organized this group.

In recognition of its impact on the University, Chancellor Fordham chose OBT members to serve as the University’s official student ambassadors in 1982. In fall 2009, with the publication of the True Blue book, OBT was recognized as the official tradition keepers of the University.

OBT represents the quality and diversity of The University of North Carolina and its students. Through a variety of activities, OBT aims to spread the passion for the progress and destiny of our alma mater.

Order of the Bell Tower is a member of CASE-ASAP (Affiliated Student Advancement Programs) that is sponsored by CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education).

Care Package Program

OBT partners with On Campus Marketing LLC to provide its care packages for current students. All orders are received and processed by On Campus Marketing LLC.

Care package program information


Since its inception, Order of the Bell Tower has been fueled by outstanding student leaders. This group of committed undergraduate students serve as the official student ambassadors and tradition keepers to the University.

View current ambassadors.

Annual Events and Activities

New Student Convocation

OBT works with Orientation Leaders and the Senior Marshals to welcome first year students to the University and unveil their official class logo at Convocation in Carmichael Arena.

Bell Tower Relighting

To signal the official start of the academic year Order of the Bell Tower holds their signature event where students gather around the Bell Tower to see it illuminated in blue and sing Hark the Sound together. This event is held immediately after Sunset Serenade.

Home Football Games

On home football game days, you can find OBT members hosting the Bell Tower Climb beginning 3 hours before kickoff to give Tar Heels the opportunity to climb to the top before the game.

True Blue Trek/Trivia

In celebration of Homecoming Week, we organize an Amazing Race style activity where teams of two follow clues to historic spots on campus racing against other teams to win prizes. Join us for True Blue Trivia, our spin on the annual Trek that will test your knowledge of Carolina trivia.

Days of Tradition

OBT host events throughout the year to engage past, present, and future Tar Heels in maintaining Carolina traditions. This is an opportunity to purchase True Blue: The Official Carolina Traditions book or get your traditions stamped.

University Day

The University Day is the annual celebration of the day that the cornerstone of the University was laid, October 12th, 1877.  OBT participates in the official ceremony in Memorial Hall and organizes Waffles at Wilson to distribute free waffles in front of Wilson Library.

Shadow Day

OBT and the GAA are proud to support high school juniors in their college exploration process. OBT invites high school juniors to participate in a unique campus visitation and exploration program called Shadow Day.

This annual program was created in 2000 by OBT to provide high-achieving and motivated high school juniors the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Carolina student. The Shadow Day planning committee attempts to match participants with current OBT members, and the entire Shadow Day experience is presented at no cost to participants.

Shadow Day attendees will:

  • Attend classes with their Shadow Day OBT mentor
  • Eat lunch on campus with fellow Shadow Day attendees and OBT mentors
  • Attend information sessions (admissions, scholarships/student aid and student life, to name a few)
  • Participate in some of Carolina’s oldest traditions

There also will be a separate program track for parents who are required to attend.

Join OBT

How do I become an ambassador?

Thank you for showing interest in Order of the Bell Tower (OBT), UNC’s official student ambassadors and tradition keepers. We are always looking for current first years, sophomores and juniors to join OBT.

Current OBT members will attest to the fact that serving the University through OBT is a very rewarding experience and allows for a more hands-on appreciation of Carolina pride and tradition.

OBT’s recruitment process will begin in Spring 2021.

Point of Contact