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The Good Neighbor Initiative

Be Kind. Be Mindful. Be a Good Neighbor.

The Good Neighbor Initiative is a collaborative partnership between the University, Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, EmPowerment Inc, the Jackson Center, and other community partners. The initiative began in 2004 with an effort by the Chapel Hill Police Department 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 geographic scope of the initiative has grown to include Northside, Pine Knolls, Cameron-McCauley neighborhoods, as well as Lloyd-Broad in Carrboro, North Street, Davie Circle, and the Dawes Street/Coolidge St areas. We have also added several partners, including EmPowerment Inc., UNC-Chapel Hill, the Downtown Partnership, the Chapel Hill Town Planning Dept, the Town of Carrboro, 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 Community Cookout 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.

For more information about the Good Neighbor Initiative, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

UNC-CH Off-Campus Student Life | [email protected] | 919-445-5049

The Town of Chapel Hill Department of Housing and Community | | 919-968-2756

The Town of Carrboro Economic and Community Development | [email protected] | 919-918-7319

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.

Know Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhood

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. You should also take time to learn about the community you live in. Chapel Hill and Carrboro have a number of historic neighborhoods with rich histories. 

In particular, we need students to understand the history of Northside and Pine Knolls. These historically African-American neighborhoods were home to black families who literally built the University. Many descendants of these families still live in Northside and Pine Knolls today. Over the last 30 years, property investors have purchased homes in these areas and created student rentals. When Carolina students move in, we want them to learn this history (go check out the Jackson Center!) . If being an anti-racist ally is important to you, if the Black Lives Matter movement resonates with you...take time to think about what it would mean to move into this community and not learn it's history, not get to know your neighbors, not care about how your behavior impacts others around you. All Carolina students have a roll to play, and a responsibility, in making tomorrow better than yesterday. 

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 behaviors 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 social gathering, it can go a long way if you let your neighbors know when people are coming over and when you expect the gathering to end. You can also 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.

Be a Good Neighbor

You likely live in a diverse residential neighborhood occupied by families, students, the elderly, and working professionals. Be mindful of noise, parking, trash, the appearance of your house and yard, speeding, picking up your dog's poop, and all the other aspects of community living that can impact others. 

Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

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.
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