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Your JASP 2023 Guide to UNC-Chapel Hill

Editor's note: Registration for JASP2023 ends today, May 10th. If you've been on the fence, maybe this handy guide to campus will help you decide to join us for a fun-filled and informative four-day deep dive into Austen's teenage writing, with workshops, discussions, lectures, movie and game nights, and a Regency Ball!


When I first learned that JASP 2023 would be held at UNC-Chapel Hill, I was ecstatic (not just because I go to school there). The university’s beautiful campus, historical sights, and renowned academic programs make it an ideal conference venue. If it’s your first time visiting campus, here are a few tips for making the most of your trip to Chapel Hill.

Photo courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill

Places to visit

1. The Old Well. The most recognizable symbol of the university, there is nothing quite like it. Located at the heart of campus, it is a site for fun traditions, and photos, and is the perfect welcome to Carolina.

2. The Bell Tower. You can’t miss it. Standing tall and proud at over 100 feet, it is another iconic UNC landmark. The tower’s bells ring every 15 minutes and can be heard from far away. It's another popular photo location you should take photos at too!

3. Franklin Street. No visit to UNC is complete without visiting Franklin Street. Home to numerous restaurants and shops, Franklin has something for everyone. There’s even a cat cafe! If you’re looking for souvenirs, stop by Shrunken Head Boutique or Alumni Hall for some one-of-a-kind finds. It’s a 15-minute walk from Winston Hall, and several campus buses can take you there.

Franklin Street. Photo courtesy of

4. The Ackland Art Museum. The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits feature a wide stylistic range of art and showcase work from artists like Eugène Delacroix and Andy Warhol. While you’re in Chapel Hill, there will be an exhibit focused on works by Rembrandt, Philips de Koninck, and Abraham Furnerius. Admission is free, and tours are available.

5. The North Carolina Botanical Garden. A sunny spring day calls for a peaceful stroll in the gardens. Explore the beautiful landscapes and rotating exhibits at one of the southeastern United States’ leading places in native plant conservation and education. Admission is free, as are the one-hour guided tours if you choose to go on one.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of

6. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. An out-of-this-world place with exhibits, shows, and a full-dome theater. Check Morehead’s calendar to find out specific show times and exhibit hours. Admission is free for exhibits, and tickets are available for full-dome planetarium shows, ranging from $14 to $16 per ticket.


I want to preface this section by acknowledging that UNC can seem like a daunting campus to navigate. After all, it is over 700 acres. However, there are maps posted around campus, buses, and friendly students that will help you reach your destination. When in doubt, using the online campus map or Google Maps is a safe bet.

1. Campus buses and shuttles. There are bus stops across the entire campus, and rest assured; there is a bus that will take you where you need to go. To track the bus schedules, a helpful tool is downloading “Moovit,” a free app that has them in real-time. Under “Lines” at the bottom of the page, search the route you are looking to take, and the app will tell you the next time the bus will arrive with the full schedule.

2. Biking. UNC has partnered with the company Spin for a bikeshare program. The company provides 100 electric assist bikes that can be used on campus and in designated areas through Chapel Hill and Carrboro. You can view available service areas and more by downloading the Spin mobile app. The cost to ride a bike is $1.00 to unlock it and an additional charge of 29 cents per minute of use. Click here to learn more about the program.

3. Walking. While this may seem obvious, walking around campus allows you to see it at your pace and appreciate its beauty. If you plan to walk far, be sure to bring durable sneakers, as the paths are hilly.

Now that you’ve made it to the end of my guide, here are some quick fun facts about UNC!

1. Founded in 1789, UNC-Chapel Hill is the first state university in the United States and the only one to award degrees during the eighteenth century.

2. Famous alumni include Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm.

3. The school colors, light blue and white, are iconic, and the shade of blue is referred to as “Carolina blue.”

4. President James Polk and 13th Vice President William King both graduated from the school.

5. The idea for using a ram, the university’s official mascot, came from the nickname for star UNC fullback Jack Merritt, known as the “Battering Ram.”

6. A tradition involving the Old Well happens on the first day of classes, where thousands of students will wait in line to drink from its water foundation. Legend says that a sip of water will bring students good luck and a 4.0 GPA.

I hope this guide is helpful and that you feel ready for your time at UNC-Chapel Hill. Have fun exploring this wonderful school and making new memories!


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