Friday, June 28, 2013

Service at UNC - Student Spotlights: Elizabeth Bartholf and Osvelia Valverde

Are you passionate about giving back to your community? At Carolina, there are countless ways to make an impact through volunteer work and make great friends and memories while you’re doing it. Two girls, Elizabeth Bartholf and Osvelia Valverde, came to UNC from different backgrounds, but with a similar interest in service.  

Elizabeth, now a rising junior from Pittsboro, NC, transferred to UNC as a sophomore from UNC Charlotte (pictured right). She’s a Journalism and Spanish double major and is involved with countless organizations on campus including the Daily Tar Heel, Students United for Immigrant Equality (SUIE), and Tau Sigma National Honor Society. She's also very involved with volunteer work and teaches computer skills for Spanish-speakers at the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Human Rights center. She hopes to study abroad in Spain during her time at UNC to enhance her Spanish language skills and merge her passions for Journalism and Spanish.

Osvelia, who is also a rising junior, concentrates her studies in Psychology, Latina/o Studies and Education (pictured below). Her family is originally from Mexico, but she spent most of her childhood growing up just outside of Winston-Salem, NC. Like Elizabeth, she is extremely involved in the UNC community. Some of her extracurriculars include Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, and Carolina Hispanic Association. Not to mention she’s a mentor for Scholars Latino Initiative and Carolina Covenant as well as a Career Peer for University Career Services.

These girls may have varied interests on campus and in the classroom, but two things in particular brought them together: their love of the Spanish language and the first floor of Craige North; a place they like to call “La Casa.” This place, of course, is the Spanish Living-Learning Community and it’s where Elizabeth and Osvelia first met. “La Casa” residents focus their learning on fluency, culture and community. In other words, they work together to strengthen their speaking skills and friendships through the continued learning of the Spanish culture. Each member is required to attend three Latina/o sponsored events and complete 10+ hours of community service. When asked to describe her experience with her LLC, Elizabeth told us:
“As a transfer student I was worried about starting over at a new school. But with ‘La Casa,’ I was able to meet new friends with similar interests and who are dedicated to making a difference in a community.”
To her, being super involved and making a difference is what has made her experience so far at UNC so rewarding and so much fun.

The Spanish Living-Learning Community (“La Casa”) 2012-2013

In the same community service vein, Elizabeth and Osvelia worked together on a project called “Radio Latijam” in their Latino Media Studies course. Radio Latijam is a Spanish-language program produced by and catered to Latino youth. It provides a means for Latina and Latino teens to play their music, voice their opinions, learn about topics that concern them and inform other teens. It offers valuable service-learning opportunities to both Latino youth and UNC students taking APPLES service-learning courses. Each UNC student is paired with a local high school student as a mentor and is able to use what they are learning in the classroom to help out the local community. 

Through Elizabeth and Osvelia’s involvement in the APPLES course and in their residence hall alone, they were able to create a community of friendship at Carolina while helping out the local community through service. If you’re interested in getting involved with community service, social justice or service learning when you get to UNC, you too can get involved and make lasting friendships! Check out the links below to find out how: