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My final undergraduate semester got kick started last week as I attended the 49er new year celebration. I was truly excited about the school year ahead, I have a job uptown at Duke Energy (starting Monday September 8th), I have great friends and great courses. I have a trip to Austria coming up in two weeks. Clearly a lot to get pumped for.

As I started my second day of class in Coach Hibbs’ Baseball in America, I was even more excited to hear him talk about how he would kick people out of his classroom for wearing gear from other schools. He gave a great opening day speech. I really wanted to stay in his class but I realized that I could drop it along with German to only take 6 credit hours, saving me time and freeing me up for work.

Now I am only enrolled in Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics. Thermodynamics should be interesting and intriguing, Dr. Elliot who teaches it is a specialist on bioenergy and is going on the trip with me and the UNC Charlotte BioEnergy Initiative to Austria. Quantum Mechanics is taught straight from the book so its easy to follow along.

I’m looking forward to graduation in a few months but I somehow feel as if my college experience is already over, no long being a full time student. When I dropped under 12 credit hours and my student fees got refunded I realized that I was no longer a traditional undergrad student. It is definately a change of lifestyle.

The 2008 Charlotte 49ers Cheerleading Squad by you.

Charlotte 49ers Cheerleaders pump up the crowd at 49er New Year

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In a recent Charlotte Observer article on UNC Charlotte’s Master Plan open forum for the community, one of the participants was quoted as saying,

“Students who are 18 to 21 years old really don’t make the best
neighbors,” said Richmond Baker of the Wyndham Place neighborhood.
“They are really disruptive to communities near school.”

I think this quotation exemplifies the attitude regarding UNC Charlotte’s growth among the community. Two years ago when I attended an open forum hosted by University City representative on Charlotte City Council, Mike Barnes, there were many angry residents complaining of various things but after 2 and a half hours no one mentioned UNC Charlotte once. Not even once. The reality of the situation is that UNC Charlotte was here 60 years ago and it will be here 60 years from now. If you don’t like the fact that students will live in and around a university then you need to move.

This university is completely irrelevant in the minds of the people that live within a 2 mile radius of it. It is a great school. It has a great educational environment along with world class facilities and faculty. Tons of accomplished alums are continuing successful careers and 5 of the Fortune 500 CFOs graduated from here. Why do people completely ignore it?

There is a stigma attached to UNC Charlotte’s abbreviation, UNCC. It sounds like a community college. Like CPCC. RCCC. GTCC. Also, and it frustrates members of the university administration to no end, but until we have football and we change our given name (a full name change is not necessary, just change the name we call ourselves) the community will continue to view us as irrelevant.

Light rail to campus in 5-6 years from uptown and a building in center city will help. The first truly urban university building in the state of NC will be quite an accomplishment. However, the citizens of Charlotte must have an emotional connection to the campus. Charlotte can’t own the school until they can focus on the campus instead of the “University of North Carolina” and citizens won’t love the school until they play football.

I wish it could be another way but to believe that it was would be denial.

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As the UNC Board of Governors reviews the progress of the UNC Tomorrow initiative at their June meeting, I noticed the following note on the positive updates portion of this document,

Effort – Campuses clearly took this effort seriously and put a great deal of time and energy into
developing their plans. Descriptions of campus processes, including committee structures, were
included in their reports. All went to considerable effort to include a wider array of campus groups
than is normally done in a traditional long-range planning process
NOTE: Chapel Hill is to be commended for not only heavily involving their students in their process, but going so far as to include a section of their report dedicated to prioritized initiatives that their students identified

Chapel Hill gets called out for everything positive by the board of governors. At least throughout the entire document UNC Charlotte got called out for positive aspects and program ideas that met goals established by the UNC-T initiative. Some notable examples include,

UNCC – Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC)
Why is this a good idea? Instead of focusing on the development of alternative energy sources,
this center focuses on the engineering infrastructures needed to distribute energy produced from a
variety of sources. A different and important slant.

UNCC – College Level Internationalization Plans – each of the seven colleges on campus are
now required to develop a broad-based international plan that is specifically integrated with the
college’s fields of study and designed to increase the opportunities for international understanding
by both faculty and students.

UNCC – 49ers Finish Program – Identifies and works with students in good standing who are
close to completing degrees but who have not registered fro two years to help them complete their
degrees
Why it makes sense: Cost-effective way of increasing graduation rates – attracting
former students back to campus may be more cost effective than recruiting new
students

UNCC – College of Education Promotion and Tenure policy – criteria for reappointment,
promotion, and tenure require evidence from each faculty member of service to practitioners and
communities, which links service to public schools to faculty promotion and tenure

Now if the 49ers can just get funding for these programs… I have a feeling most of it will be going to Chapel Hill and UNC-Raleigh.

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Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Charlotte for the Board of Trustees meeting where the first real discussion on football will occur.

What I don’t get is UNC Charlotte’s hesitation to commit to a decision. The problem is money. Obviously. We can
easily say something like, “We’re gonna do it. And now we begin our
captial campaign”

If the capital campaign falls grossly short of the goals, then we say
we can’t do it. If 8,400 students protest the fee increases then we’ll
stop the football program from going any further. But I highly doubt either of those outcomes
will actualize.

Why would a donor or business commit money to a program that might or might not happen. If we say we are going to do it and we draw up flashy pictures of stadiums, facilities, etc… that can be adorned with sponsor names we will get donations. USF started football and after they committed, the top 4 donors were people that had never previously been associated with the school. In a money town like Charlotte? The skys the limit. (Except for Wachovia…)

I’ll post more on Thursday after the meeting. I’m sure the Charlotte Observer will post more as well, more on why it is impossible. You know what UNC Charlotte thought was impossible 10 years ago? Doctoral Programs. The UNC System told us we shouldn’t do it. Dick Spangler as president of the UNC System back then said “If NC State and Chapel Hill has doctoral degrees, why should Charlotte have them?” The funding wasn’t there. We did it anyways. Defeatist attitudes never earned degrees or bowl wins.

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In this,

The following ad ran,

LOL! Go 49ers!

[via Ninernation.net]

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I understand why UNCC (UNC Charlotte) gets confused for UNCCH (UNC-CH) but the other way around? Interesting name confusion in an article from the local news on UNCCH in the Final Four,

The Tar Heels advanced to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.
Thousands of basketball fans charged their way into Bobcats arena
Saturday night and watched UNCC defeat Louisville.

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Now that Tim Ernst is taking over for me at the end of the month as the new UNC Charlotte student body president, I wanted to post all of our campaign videos in one place… because they are awesome. If anyone knows of campaign videos from other student body president campaigns, please post them in the comments section.

Tim is the new student body president at UNC Charlotte, and has been featured in two years worth of election videos including my campaign last year.

A video from the SGA Public Relations Committee

Ernst-Pierce for Campus Safety

Ritchie-Ernst for UNC Charlotte’s Future

The Making of Ritchie-Ernst for UNC Charlotte’s Future

Vote Justin Ritchie for Student Body President

Vote Ritchie-Ernst in the runoff!

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