Digital Story

The North Carolina Study Center

For some, moving to college can be a difficult and uncomfortable transition. But at UNC-Chapel Hill, many students have found their “home away from home” in an organization on campus: the North Carolina Study Center.

The History of the NC Study Center

The North Carolina Study Center began in 2015 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to “cultivate Christian life and thought at UNC.” The Study Center operates from a home on Battle Lane six days a week, Sunday through Friday.

“We offer a variety of hospitality events and educational programs for students and faculty here,”   said MaryRachel Bulkeley, the assistant director of communications at the Study Center. “Couches, free coffee and tea; always a great place to hang out.”

Several priorities of the Study Center are theological education, spiritual formation and hospitality and unity, according to their website. One of the programs the Study Center hosts to encourage hospitality and unity is Carolina Way Camp, an orientation for first-year students to welcome them into the UNC-CH Christian community.

“The Study Center is used for a lot of things,” Bulkeley said. “Two of my favorites are probably the meals we host and the random activities that will happen throughout the week.”

Bulkeley said the breakfast tacos, served by staff members on Friday mornings, are a way to provide both a free and delicious meal to people on campus.

While the Study Center is not in the center of campus, students come in contact with it in a variety of ways.

“I would say a lot of contact happens just through relationships, whether that’s someone who has come here before and they have to study for a study group, they will invite their friend from class,” Bulkeley said. 

Bulkeley said people come in contact with the Study Center not only through friendships, but because campus ministries use the space for large group meetings, small group discussions and Bible studies.

Barrie, the Study Center Dog

Throughout the United States, other universities have adopted the concept of study centers. According to an article by Yonat Shimron for The Christian Century, “Today, there are 24 Christian study centers at universities across the country, including ones at the University of California, Berkeley, Cornell, Yale, the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

For more information on the North Carolina Study Center, its programs or how to get involved, visit their website by clicking the link below.

Interview with MaryRachel Bulkeley, Assistant Director of Communications at the Study Center

Video Courtesy of Anna Neil