UNC Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing educational institutions in the state. That may not seem like a big deal to people who aren’t students or staff there, but it should. The university offers opportunities not only to individuals affiliated with it but also to the community. Here are five ways the general public can take advantage of what UNCC offers:
UNCC is the home to 10 acres of gardens that are open to the public at no cost every day during daylight hours. Group tours of the gardens are also available for $3 per participant. (Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.) The McMillan Greenhouse is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. The greenhouse offers plant sales such as the annual Valentine’s Day Orchid Sale. Also, gardening classes and certifications are offered through the gardens and greenhouse.
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The university offers courses, prep classes and certificate programs for professionals, high school students and individuals wishing to expand their knowledge on a certain topic. The majority of people who use the program are adults working to enhance their professional skills for a current career, to change to a new career, or to re-enter the workforce. The program also offers summer camps for students in first through 12th grades each year.
Health and fitness services
Although the Student Activity Center and Belk Gym are closed to the public (unless you are the guest of a student), the university offers a variety of alternative recreation options. A newer addition is the Health Risk Assessment Program, which offers the public relatively inexpensive access to weight training, dieting and dental health. UNCC’s Venture program offers adventure trips focused on hiking, backpacking and rafting. Activities are open to the public, but students have first dibs.
Lots of culture
The Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts hosts popular ticketed events such as the Faculty & Friends concert series (in Rowe Recital Hall), and performances by thejazz ensemble, wind ensemble and chamber orchestra and chorale (at Anne R. Belk Theater). In November, it will present “Hamlet” at its Black Box Theater. UNCC also is home to six art galleries that feature work of international artists, as well as university and regional artists. This fall, they will showcase work by New York City artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy in the Rowe Galleries and photos by Albert Chong in the Projective Eye Gallery (located in the Center City building uptown). All galleries are free and open to the public.
J. Murrey Atkins Library
Because UNCCis a public university, its library is open for public use. Home to more than 1 million books and a collection of more than 45,000 electronic scholarly research journals and databases, you can find pretty much anything you need. The library also offers assistance from one of its 14 masters-level research librarians. Sixteen public-access computers are available, along with printing services. To check out books, you can purchase a community borrower’s card for $100 annually.
Sara, a former Observer intern, is currently a senior at UNC Charlotte.