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Introducing the Campus Commons

Introducing the Campus Commons building at UNC

November 13, 2018

The UNC Campus Commons building is scheduled to open in spring 2019. Learn about the different offices and teams moving into this new campus space in this video series. Teams interviewed include Office of Admissions, Ticketing, Performing and Visual Arts and many others. 

Have questions about the Campus Commons? Visit the Commons' FAQ page.

Watch this overview video to discover what you can expect in the Campus Commons:

Bear Central

UNC’s one-stop center, formerly called GPS+, has been re-named Bear Central to better convey its mission of supporting UNC students in attaining educational goals and enhancing their experience.

Upon opening in spring of 2019, Bear Central will maximize the student experience in the areas of financial aid, student accounts (bursar) and registration services by connecting students with the appropriate tools and information for success. Staff from these key campus offices will move to the Campus Commons over spring break 2019, and Bear Central will be located on the second floor of Campus Commons at the top of the Social Staircase.

"Essentially, we’re bringing it all together so that students can take care of that business, and then, that allows them to focus on all of the other priorities they have of being a student," said Sarah Chase, director of Bear Central.

Dining Services' Pie Café

UNC Dining Services feeds the Bears through different dining options located around campus. With Campus Commons opening in the spring, Dining Services is adding a new operation to the building called The Pie Café, which will be located on the first floor across from the Ticket Office and next to the performance hall.

"The pie concept comes from savory pie shops from around the world," said G. Hal Brown, FMP, director of UNC Dining Services. "They are meant to be portable and for students to grab one and take it to class or have a meal."

UNC Pastry Chef, Jen Moore, and Executive Chef, Aran Essig, CEC, CCA, attended several classes last year at the French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago. Since then, they’ve developed a really tasty pie crust that’s been transformed into Pie Fries.

The Pie Fries are made up of and dipped into brown sugar and cinnamon with the option of two dipping sauces to choose: Icing or Cherry. You’ll also find a variety of hot and cold drinks including coffee, squeezed juices and more.

The College of Natural Health Sciences, Nutrition & Dietetics, was a crucial partner in the development of the Pie Café concept and initial menu direction. The students of the program, as part of their Food Science class, did intensive testing on various types of flours, fats, bake times and mixing methods and the effects of those on tenderness and final outcome of pie crust. This data was utilized in the creation of the final formulation of the Pie Dough for the Pie Café.

Pies will be made from scratch daily. In addition to an outstanding homestyle pie crust, the Pie Café will also offer Vegan and Gluten-Free Options.

Ticket Office

The UNC Ticket Office engages the campus and surrounding community through excellent customer service, accessibility and a passion to unite diverse audiences in supporting UNC performing arts, athletics, student activities and other campus events.

The Ticket Office is moving into the ground floor of Campus Commons because they currently operate in three separate areas: Frasier Hall, the University Center and Nottingham Field. By moving into Campus Commons, they will be able to best serve the campus community from one, central location.

“Last year we sold roughly 115,000 tickets for all of our events on campus, and we expect that number to grow as the performing arts hall comes online next year,” said Alexander Hope, UNC director of campus ticketing.

New Student Orientation

UNC's New Student Orientation team focuses on supporting and transitioning new students at UNC each semester with helpful resources and opportunities.

NSO is moving because they currently operate in two different spaces on campus during the academic year. The move will also benefit new students because of the proximity between Campus Commons and the University Center where large and small sessions will take place throughout future orientations.

"When they come throughout orientation, those students will be the ones who will be able to use [the Campus Commons] for their entire career, so it's nice that we'll be able to introduce the population into the space," said UNC's Director of Orientation, Erin Datteri-Saboski.

UNC's College of Performing & Visual Arts

Campus Commons will provide new spaces for UNC's Performing and Visual Arts programs with an over 5,900-square-foot, 600-seat performance hall, rehearsal rooms and art galleries.

In this video, Dean of UNC's College of Performing and Visual Arts, Leo Welch, discusses how the performance hall and new spaces will provide a better experience for the campus and local communities to indulge in the arts.

"It's no secret that we have high-quality arts programs on campus," Welch said. "The Campus Commons and art gallery spaces are the two spaces for the first time in this campus's history that were built specifically for arts' purposes rather than repurposed."

Heating and cooling are being installed underneath the seating, which is better for acoustics and space. The hall will allow for an all-inclusive, central space for performing and visual arts, dance and music students to practice and perform as well as a place for the community to come together and celebrate the arts.

"From a curricular aspect, these are big, complicated classroom spaces, and, just like our chemistry students need lab spaces in order to learn their craft, our students desparately need performance spaces and gallery spaces that mimic or are exactly like the real-life experiences that they will have in high-quality performance halls as they practice their craft," he said.

These new spaces will complement other performance venues on and off-campus including the Union Colony Civic Center where other PVA performances will be held during the year.

Office of Admissions and Visitor Center

The Office of Admissions and Visitors Center each year coordinates over 10,000 campus visits by prospective students and their families. 

The staff of 30 will vacate their cramped space in the Visitors Center, which decades ago served as the president’s residence, and relocate to the Campus Commons. Campus tours will start at the Commons when the building opens spring semester. 

The new space will house a presentation room, called the Bear Pride room, that will hold over 60 people. A multipurpose room nearby will accommodate 400-plus people for larger scale Admissions events such as Discover UNC.

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