Student Affairs - Fostering Student Learning and Success

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Being a Good Neighbor

The Good Neighbor Initiative

The Good Neighbor Initiative began in 2004 with an effort by the CHPD to make door-to-door visits to student-rental properties in the Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods that had been trouble spots for loud noise and disruptive behavior. The idea was to talk to students before the academic year got underway about the local laws and ordinances that, if followed, would reduce the likelihood of problems between neighbors and visits from the police. Over time, the scope of the initiative has grown to include Northside, Pine Knolls, and the Cameron-McCauley neighborhoods, as well as North Street, Davie Circle, and the Dawes Street/Coolidge St area. We have also added several partners, including EmPowerment Inc., UNC-Chapel Hill, the Downtown Partnership, the Town Planning Dept, the Jackson Center and many others. The Good Neighbor Initiative has grown to include over 70 volunteers participating in the door to door walk, with over 1200 homes visited, plus a block party to bring student and non-student residents together in the spirit of community. GNI is about promoting positive living experiences in those neighborhoods where students and non-students live in close proximity.

Poster from the 2015 Good Neighbor Initiative Neighborhood Night Out & Block Party

***The Fall 2015 GNI Neighborhood Night Out & Block Party will be on Thursday, September 10, 5pm, at the Hargraves Center.***

Being a neighbor is easy. Being a good neighbor is simple, but takes a little more thought.

Meet Your Neighbors
When you move into a new neighborhood make sure you meet the folks who live around you. When someone moves into your neighborhood, make an effort to introduce yourself to them. You could also exchange phone numbers; this could be especially useful if there is an emergency.

Know Your Neighbors
Are your neighbors a family with young children, a retired elderly couple or someone who gets up for work early in the morning, or a student? If you know this information, you will have a better chance of knowing their community expectations.

Help Your Neighbors
A neighbor can help by letting you borrow an item, collecting your mail while you are away or calling the police if there is suspicious activity. Maybe your neighbor could use help getting their trash to the curb each week.

Respect Your Neighbors
Consider how your lifestyle may be having a positive or negative impact on your community. Are you taking steps that will help you fit into your neighborhood and establish a positive relationship with your neighbors? Or are you creating an environment which is putting you at odds with your neighbors? Some behavior is regulated by the law or town ordinance, but some behavior is unacceptable by unwritten community standards. You may not always agree with your neighbor, but try to respect the reasonable community expectations that have been established in the neighborhood. If a neighbor asks you to adjust your behavior due to it bothering them, give their request some serious consideration. You may be able to compromise.

Communicate With Your Neighbors
Keep the lines of communication open. If there is a concern, it could be addressed early to avoid any long-term tension. If you are having a party, let your neighbor know and ask them to call you if there are any concerns. Be sure to address the concerns or they may call the police first the next time.


Required Reading

  • Check out an excellent Daily Tar Heel article that outlines some of the complexities that can come with being a student living in a residential neighborhood. Being a neighbor, but also a hypocrite.
  • The Good Neighbor Initiative is a partnership between UNC and the Town of Chapel Hill. There are two primary focuses of the Good Neighbor Initiative. Every year, for a decade, there has been a neighborhood block party thrown at the Hargraves Community Center in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill which is paired with a neighborhood walk around welcome, where university officials, students, and members of the town welcome new student residents with useful information. Check out this article on last year's festivities: Good Neighbor Initiative 2012.
  • The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History is one of the most dynamic and important resources in Chapel Hill's resident community. Please take some time to visit their website, learn more about the neighborhoods you might inhabit, and find ways to involve yourself. The Jackson Center.
  • The below video is a succinct and cute video all about how jerk neighbors make life hard for everybody. Take a look.