News Items from UNC Greensboro

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clock tower, sunrise

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the week.

  • Dr. Hemali Rathnayake and his students are featured in an article and video story by WFMY News2 about research to use nanoscience to efficiently clean drinking water. The story.
  • Demetrius Noble, an adjunct professor of African-American Literature, Black Class Antagonisms, and Popular Culture and Hip-Hop Studies, tells the story behind his new African-American Diaspora Studies class “Politics of Black Poetry & Rap” in a Yes!Weekly feature. The article.
  • Dr. Janet Boseovski, an associate professor of psychology, writes in California’s Lake County News about how it can be easier to get rid of unhealthy behaviors and replace them with new personal habits during the disruptive times of a pandemic. The article.
  • Russell Vernon, a UNCG alumnus who is working on his doctorate in education at the G, was featured in Rockingham Now after being named Pricipal of the Year for Rockingham County Schools. The article.

University Communications staff report

The Informatics and Analytics (I&A) program at UNCG will become an interdisciplinary program in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) beginning in Fall 2022 with Dr. John Stufken as director.

I&A runs the MS in Informatics and Analytics (MSIA) program. This interdisciplinary STEM program admitted its first students in 2019 and has been housed and nurtured in the Graduate School. In our data-driven world, skills to manage data and extract information from it are increasingly valuable throughout business and society. The MSIA program aims at teaching such skills to a broad and diverse spectrum of students, whose backgrounds need not be in the
quantitative sciences. All that is needed is a passion to learn from data!

Courses in the MSIA program can be completed on-campus or online, and students can be enrolled as full-time or part-time.

The MSIA program requires 30 credit hours, and consists of six core courses, three concentration courses, and a project-based capstone course. Core courses in the program are taught by faculty from I&A, Computer Science, Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, and Mathematics and Statistics. The program currently offers concentrations in Advanced Data Analytics, Bioinformatics, Computational Analytics, Geospatial Analytics, and Cultural Analytics. Capstone projects can be completed through business internships or working with faculty at UNCG. While I&A does not have an undergraduate program, undergraduate students in other disciplines at UNCG can apply for a 5-year accelerated BS/MS option that leads to the MSIA degree.

More information about the MSIA program is available at https://grs.uncg.edu/msia/.

Three students wearing face coverings walking out of Petty Building

After a much-needed winter break, today marks the start of a new semester for Spartans. 

It’s an exciting time at UNC Greensboro, with the University hosting a variety of in-person and virtual events for students, faculty, staff, and the Greensboro community.

Throughout the month of January, there will be a winter soiree for students, new exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, a day of service to the community, a performance by renowned Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, and more.

New and returning Spartans are encouraged to log on to SpartanConnect to see the full calendar, learn more, and register for individual events. 

Here’s a look ahead at some of the events and activities taking place on campus this month: 

Winter Involvement Fair

Monday, Jan. 10, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. in the EUC Cone Ballroom and EUC Auditorium

UNCG has over 250 student groups, from fraternities and sororities to academic associations to club sports. Stop by the annual Winter Involvement Fair to connect with others and get involved on campus. 

Winterfest: ACE Snap Back into the Semester

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 3-5 p.m. in the EUC Cone Ballroom

Still feeling festive? Make a foam gingerbread house and watch The Polar Express with fellow Spartans as you ease back into the academic year.

Winterfest: ACE Winter Wonderland

Thursday, Jan. 13, 6-9 p.m. at the Jefferson Suites Parking Lot

Skate into the new semester on ACE’s ice skating rink! Enjoy hot chocolate and hot cider, a photo booth, and music to kick off the semester.

Winterfest: ACE Winter Soiree

Friday, Jan. 14, 7-9 p.m. at the Weatherspoon Art Museum

Join ACE and CoWAM at the Weatherspoon Art Museum for a night of art and sophistication. Come dressed to impress in white attire,  and explore the museum’s latest exhibit featuring artist Lorraine O’Grady. There will be entertainment for all to celebrate the start of the semester in style! Please RSVP on SpartanConnect to reserve your spot.

In concert: Kelli O’Hara

Friday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. in the UNCG Auditorium

As part of the 2021-22 University Concert and Lecture Series, stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara will perform at the UNCG Auditorium. Purchase tickets at vpa.uncg.edu/single-event/kelli-ohara.

MLK Day of Service

Saturday, Jan. 15, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is one of two annual university-wide days of service. Students have the opportunity to get off campus and engage with different parts of the Greensboro community, while honoring Dr. King’s legacy through service. Participation and lunch are free. Visit go.uncg.edu/mlkdos to register.

MLK Celebration 

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m. via Zoom

UNCG, N.C. A&T, Guilford College, and Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) are teaming up to present a virtual celebration of Dr. King’s legacy. This year’s theme is “I come as one, but stand as 10,000.” The event will feature a panel of student activists from all four institutions as well as recorded performances by students and staff from each campus. The virtual celebration, like past events, is free and open to the public, and members from the local community are encouraged to view the discussion and performances. The event will be accessible via racialequity.uncg.edu.

Cheer on UNCG Athletics 

Men’s Basketball:

UNCG v. Wofford, Friday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum

UNCG v. Chattanooga, Thursday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum

UNCG v. Samford, Saturday, Jan. 22, 5 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum

Women’s Basketball: 

UNCG v. Mercer, Thursday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m. at Fleming Gym

UNCG v. Samford, Saturday, Jan. 15, 4 p.m. at Fleming Gym

Women’s Tennis:

UNCG v. Kennesaw State, Friday, Jan. 21, TBD

UNCG v. UNC Asheville, Saturday, Jan. 29, 1 p.m.

Men’s Tennis:

UNCG v. Kennesaw State, Friday, Jan. 21, 1 p.m.

UNCG v. North Carolina Central, Friday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.

Check out new exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum

Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And, Jan. 8–April 30

On loan from the Brooklyn Museum in New York, Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And is the first comprehensive overview of the work of Lorraine O’Grady, one of the most significant figures in contemporary performance, conceptual, and feminist art. O’Grady is widely known for her radical persona Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, and has a complex practice that also encompasses video, photomontage, concrete poetry, cultural criticism, and public art. Throughout her work, O’Grady has called attention to the deeply segregated nature of the art world while also continually imagining her own history, body, and relationships, within a cultural landscape that often makes it difficult for Black women to speak for themselves. By putting seemingly contradictory ideas together, O’Grady questions the power attached to such oppositions as Black and White, museum and individual, self and other, West and non-West, and past and present. The exhibition’s subtitle Both/And, emphasizes the artist’s ambitious goal of dismantling either/or thinking in favor of broader possibilities.

Make My Presence Known, Jan. 15–April 2

As humans, we are subject to the perception of others at any moment. And yet, what they see – our physical, outward appearance – is not synonymous with our identity. We are more than our faces, our bodies, and the clothes we wear. We are the sum of our lived experience. The artists whose work is exhibited in Make My Presence Known challenge notions of identity as visible by using sculptures that both interrogate and celebrate the unseen self. Artists Magdalena Abakanowicz, Nick Cave, and Alison Saar are each represented in the show by a single, dynamic figurative sculpture. Working from deeply personal perspectives, the artists employ everyday objects and materials recognizable to many. With wood, beads, canvas, bottles, and even ceramic bird figurines, their artworks collectively underscore the complexity and diversity of lived experience. Make your presence known in the gallery by engaging with these sculptures and finding your points of intersection with the stories they offer and the content they engage.

Story by Alexandra McQueen, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications

Staff from the Early Childhood Center of Greensboro led a food drive for the Spartan Open Pantry before Christmas.

On this New Year’s Day, we pause to look forward to 2022 with hope.

Hope. We could all use a little. Because 2021 was challenging and difficult for all of us on some level.

The Early Childhood Center gathered two carloads of donated food.

But the year had its moments. As the year drew to a close, we caught a glimpse of the best of us a few short days before Christmas. A simple act of kindness and generosity, brought forth by children too young to attend elementary school.

It was a Tuesday morning when two vans from the Early Childhood Center of Greensboro rolled up to UNCG’s Spartan Open Pantry on Tate Street and delivered boxes filled with canned food and dry goods – items gathered by the children and their families.

“We usually do some kind of community give-back project during the holidays with our families,” said Meredith Kasten, director of the Early Childhood Center. “Every year it’s been something different. Sometimes we’ve donated socks to people in need, or we’ve donated to the IRC downtown for the homeless population. This year we decided on a canned food drive.”

The Early Childhood Center, which is affiliated with the West Market Street United Methodist Church, provides daycare for infants through 5-year-olds weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We serve a somewhat affluent community for the most part. We’ve gotten more diverse over the years, but most of our families are people who work downtown,” Kasten said. “That’s a lot of lawyers and bankers and people affiliated with the hospital. Our families have always been willing to give back to the community – we just have to say the word.”

And this year, the word was to help the Spartan Open Pantry in the midst of a global pandemic that has stretched resources thin.


The parents in Kasten’s program pitched in. They showed up for days with boxes of food, and some families went grocery shopping specifically for the food drive.

The kids were involved, too.

“We want to make sure we’re doing something to help, and we want to make sure we’re teaching that lesson of helping to the children,” Kasten said. “We want them to learn about giving back and what it means to be a giving person during the holidays – to give something when you might not receive anything back, and the meaning behind that. The kids help bring the cans in and help load up the cars. That way they can see what it means to give back to their community, to help people in need.”

Kids from the Early Childhood Center took part in the food drive.

And the need is very real, said Andrew Mails, executive director of the Spartan Open Pantry.

“In the time before COVID-19, we were a large food pantry when we were distributing 300 or 400 pounds of food per week,” Mails said. “Now we give out 1,000 pounds per week, and I don’t think that bell is going to un-ring for a long time.

“The need became more acute during the pandemic. Part of what I love, having been a part of the UNCG family for more than a dozen years, is that we have made a move to being such a diverse university. But as that has happened, we’ve seen higher rates of poverty among our members.”

Even before the pandemic, Mails said, about 34 percent of UNCG students experienced food insecurity at some point during a given year. Somewhere between 300 and 400 students would use the pantry on a long-term basis.


And during the pandemic, the need has grown. One in four students has reported food insecurity every month, Mails said.

The Spartan Open Pantry distributed 32,784 pounds of food in 2021.

“So many of our students are in families where they’re helping their siblings or parents. And many of those students lost jobs during the pandemic,” Mails said. “All the downward pressures of COVID-19 – the job loss, the extra costs – were very difficult on those who were already just getting by. … The need is so much greater now. And the need is more immediate. Some of these students don’t have anything to fall back on. Any reserves they had are fully depleted now.”

The holiday season has been a bit of a reprieve. But it’s temporary.

“This time of the year is usually pretty good for us. Everybody thinks about giving around the holidays in December, which is great,” Mails said. “But then the year starts over, and things move on. So in February and March, that’s when it gets hard. And that’s the same for a lot of different pantries – even bigger ones like Greensboro Urban Ministry. Everybody has a bit of a struggle then, so we try to get enough now to carry us over. But part of the limitation is there are only so many pounds of food we can store at a time. Can you store enough? Right now during break, we’re doing maybe 600 or 700 pounds per week. When the semester starts, we’ll be back at right around 1,000 pounds per week.”

If it sounds overwhelming, that’s because it is. But Mails and his staff rely on the kindness of groups like the Early Childhood Center. They do their best and move on to the next day, the next week, the next month.

“Having a food pantry doesn’t do anything to change hunger,” Mails said. “It keeps a person from not having food tomorrow. But it doesn’t change the underlying system that creates hunger. So producing students who are committed, and who have the tools of understanding to create social change – that’s part of the work that goes on here, too.”

Mails paused a moment, reflecting on the Spartan Open Pantry’s mission and the message of a favorite philosopher.

“To borrow a Mister Rogers term, we see everyone as a neighbor,” Mails said. “We recognize that there is a need. There are people in our community who need to be cared for, and we have the ability to care. We can help. So we do. It would be wrong to have the ability to help and not do it.”

Story by Jeff Mills, University Communications

Photos contributed by the Early Childhood Center of Greensboro