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Building Community

We all know that our MPA alumni believe in public service, so much in fact they are willing to spend their Saturday improving the homes and lives of low-income homeowners. Before the MPA Alumni Picnic, a group of 24 MPA alumni and students spent the day working with Rebuilding Together of the Triangle. Rebuilding Together is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing home repair and renovation services free of charge to those in need.

The original idea for the Day of Service originated last year with Justin Amos (UNC MPA 2006) when he was seeking a way to celebrate his cohort’s 10th anniversary. Justin said his cohort wanted to “find a group event that would symbolize the reason we came to Chapel Hill for graduate school to begin with: to serve the public.”

After the success of the first Day of Service in 2016, Justin was determined to open this event up to all UNC MPA alumni. Justin partnered with Executive Director of Rebuilding Together of the Triangle and fellow MPA alumni, Dan Sargent (2010), to make this event a reality for students and alumni. Current student, Andrew Cutler enjoyed the opportunity to meet alumni and work beside them. Andrew said, “The recipients were super appreciative, and I think the work we did made some kind of valuable contribution to improving their circumstances.”

Justin believes the Day of Service “perfectly encapsulates the reasons many of us chose to get a Carolina MPA: to serve others, to meet new people, reconnect with friends, and to make a difference in their community.” Dan encouraged alumni that live and work in the triangle to “engage their workplaces, faith communities, and civic organizations to help serve homeowners in their neighborhoods to ensure low-income families in the Triangle have safe, healthy places to live.” Dan hopes that the Day of Service becomes an annual tradition that continues for many years.

By Sarah Dickson and Jim Hemphill