Tar Heel Tours from the North Carolina mountains to the coast

When walking in the room it was like walking into many different worlds. You could see all different aspects and involvement going on involving North Carolina.

The Tar Heel Tour is part of a campus wide theme of NC History. It was a year long project that kicked off on Thursday, Feb. 12.

The UC Grandroom was full of Western Carolina University students and local North Carolina residents all looking for exciting and new information. Throughout the semester there will be speakers as well as an ending festival for the theme of NC History

WCU Director of Service Learning Lane Perry and his sub committee wanted to make sure that everyone learned a little bit more about the regions of North Carolina. “The average person may not know so the students can experience first hand and learn about some of the most interesting ideas from all regions,” said Perry.

The focus of the event had the Mountains, Piedmont and the Coastal regions. There were five to ten stops for each region and 22 booths set up to enhance the event.

The honors college had BBQ sampling with multiple different NC barbecue sauces to raise money for the United Christian Ministries.

The first booth when walking in was a booth on nursing. North Carolina was the first state to require a nursing license in 1903, before women could even vote.

Ryan Denver explaining protection at WCU to Julia Nex.

Ryan Denver explaining protection at WCU to Julia Nex.

 After learning many different facts I came across a booth that looked more fun than factual.

Ryan Denver, a Delta Sigma Phi member at WCU was giving information about bullet proof vest and the protection that surrounding cops need. He allowed people to wear the bullet proof vest and demonstrated how the camera was used for a cops protection.

“University police officers all have body cameras at their mid section,” said Denver.

A mock Greensboro sit-in was displayed where students could show what they would sit-in for.

“This is an encouraging way to promote students to stand up for what they believe in. Even in our country today there are problems everywhere,” said Adam Ray, a WCU student volunteer.

There were booths giving information about the Tobacco production; the Peace Corps involvement including one current volunteer from WCU; Sundrop and Pepsi soda that both originated in North Carolina. Following positive information there was information on meth lab presence in Western North Carolina. For example in Catawba Co. there were 27 meth lab busts and in Cherokee, there have been 7 meth lab bust.

Another booth raised awareness about violence. A lady at the booth was explaining that the Native American women have the lowest population, yet are most often victims of domestic violence that often goes unnoticed when apart of a tribe.

When wrapping up the tour, a trail map across the US was displayed. The ‘Mountains to Sea Trail’ covers 1,150 miles of hiking range that one can finish in reasonable weather in a time span of 2-3 months. This was an aspect that connected to WCU outdoor involvement and activities, giving students a unique and challenging option that most were unaware of.

“When taking the Tar Heel tour I found it very informative. I went to booths that looked interesting and they ended up having information I knew nothing about. It was a great learning experience that you could only find at Western,” said Julia Nex, a communication student.

WCU will have other related events throughout the semester. One of the themed events is the discussion about the book  “Picking Cotton” that will be held March 2, from 7-8 p.m. in the UC Grandroom.