The "Community Immersion" Philosophy

The "Community Immersion" Philosophy

The idea of "Community Immersion" evolved from a former director of Carolina Housing. He defined Community Immersion as “...the philosophy that each student’s journey at Carolina is unique. It is therefore important that our staff’s focus with residents is more one-on-one, connecting students with their community, with the campus, and with opportunities that expose them to all that is available at Carolina. It is the way in which we directly engage residents, sharing in their successes and assisting with their concerns and challenges. In short, it is mentorship. This, in turn, leads to greater student success.” - Larry Hicks, Former DHRE Director 


Here is how some of our other staff members have interpreted Community Immersion:

“Keith Shawn Smith, a former Resident Advisor of Stacy Hall in Lower Quad whom we’ve memorialized with our RA of the Year Award, taught me what community immersion means through his work in the residence halls. He encouraged the setting of personal goals and aspirations to inspire those around him to succeed. He also connected his residents to campus resources, developed meaningful relationships, and built an engaged community. His energy, passion, and devotion to the community is what made Lower Quad such a special place. I honor him by doing the same for the residents that I serve.”

Jack Vitaliz, Community Director

"Community Immersion is more than just being visible, it is being present, engaged, and actively involved in the residential and campus community. To me, it is allowing opportunities to interact with students in multiple arenas, creating conversations that happen organically and develop deep, meaningful relationships."

- Megan Turnage, Community Director

 “The idea that relationship building promotes student success. When residential staff get to know students on a personal level, the notion of providing support and assistance becomes easier. To me, it is one of the building blocks to fostering an inclusive hall environment.”

- Hazael Andrew, Assistant Director

"Community Immersion is about making a big place smaller by personalizing the experience for our students.  It’s about hiring staff who want to get to know our residents through our programs and services.  It’s about being available to our residents and helping them to find their own Carolina Experience!"

- Rick Bradley, Associate Director

“Community Immersion is becoming 'ONE' with the Carolina community. This means fully living out what it means to be a Tar Heel from interactions with students and residents to ensuring you have a closet full of Carolina blue and white!”

- Arienne Milkles, Community Director

“When I think of Community Immersion I think of former Community Director Matt Knickman going around the community, knocking on resident’s doors, and giving out popsicles just to start a conversation that turns into a developing meaningful relationship. I think of Debbie Bousquet evaluating our community living spaces and looking for ways to sustainably improve the environment for our residents to enjoy. I think of our involved student leaders within the residence halls, such as Keith Shawn Smith, and the lasting impact they make on the lives of our residents each day, without always knowing the depth of the impact and legacy they are leaving. Community Immersion is a philosophy that the relationships, environments, and involvement make an impact in the residential communities that lead to a better Carolina Experience for everyone.”

- Elizabeth Stewart, Community Director

Community Immersion is Carolina Housing's approach to fulfilling our commitment to student success, satisfaction and self-awareness.