Connecting with North Carolina

The Tarheel Bus Tour stops in front of the City of Kannapolis town hallThe 2019 Tar Heel Bus Tour was a special one — and not just because of the cool “Heels on a Bus” shirts the participants wore.

That was the year then-Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz decided to “go big and go bold” with the annual tradition. Over three days, 90 faculty and administrators traveled 1,600 miles and visited 28 towns on three separate routes — east, west and southeast — crisscrossing the state.

The bus tour and the pandemic inspired the creation of Carolina Across 100, a five-year initiative launched in June 2021 to partner with communities in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties, said initiative leader Anita Brown-Graham. Brown-Graham is also the Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government at the School of Government and director of the ncIMPACT Initiative.

As the leader of the southeast route of the 2019 bus tour, Brown-Graham said she saw how much Carolina was already contributing to the state. With the onset of COVID-19 and its devastating impact on health, the economy and education across the state, she saw how the University could do more.

On the 2022 bus tour, the first since 2019, participants will see at least two examples of the Carolina Across 100 initiative in action: the Rivers East Youth Alliance in Bertie County and Fairystone Fabrics in Alamance County. Both counties are among the 37 participating in the “Our State, Our Work” program, which focuses on expanding pathways to living wage employment for young adults ages 16-24 who are not in school and not working.

Read more about 2022’s Tar Heel Bus Tour and the collaborations that came from the 2019 tour…

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