Situated one mile north of downtown Asheville, the 265-acre UNC Asheville campus overlooks the city, Mount Pisgah, and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. It's close to Asheville's shops and nightlife, yet minutes from outdoor adventure amid a million acres of public lands. The campus comprises thirty buildings, situated on two landscaped quadrangles, housing classroom, administration, recreation, and residence facilities.
An All American City, Asheville has been described as one of the country's most livable cities. The nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Pisgah and Nantahala national forest offer plenty of space for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, and more. Asheville's revitalized downtown blends modern life and mountain culture. A varied nightlife, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment appeal to many tastes. Theatre UNCA, the Cultural and Special Events, and the Music and Art departments' activities contribute to the year-round line-up of regional concerts, theatre productions, music and dance festivals, crafts fairs, and other cultural events that are held each year in Asheville.
With a growing population of 75,000, Asheville is the business, cultural, and population center of the Western North Carolina region. There is easy highway access via Interstates 40 and 26, and major commercial carriers serve the Asheville Regional Airport. Asheville is 240 miles west of Raleigh, 175 miles north of Atlanta, and 120 miles east of Knoxville.
Campus Facilities & Equipment
The university's comprehensive high-speed fiber-optic network connects all campus computers to each other and the rest of the world via Internet. Allowing such innovations as student class registration on the Internet, the network ensures a capability-rich information technology environment that enhances teaching, learning, and the quality of campus life. Our completely wired campus provides extensive computing and networking resources to students, who are encouraged but not required to buy computers.
Notable campus facilities include two teleconference centers for distance learning, a renovated and expanded library, versatile 200-seat theatre, music recital halls, new state-of-the-art health and fitness center, new computer labs for the mass communication and multimedia programs, and the University botanical gardens. The Asheville Graduate Center, North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement and Key Center for Service-Learning benefit UNCA undergraduates and the people of the region.
Several of UNC Asheville's Academic Programs, including environmental studies and atmospheric sciences, enjoy cooperative relationships with agencies such as the National Climatic Data Center and U.S. Forest Service, whose offices are in Asheville. Students use the natural "laboratories" of nearby national parks and forests.
The university conducts summer programs in Cambridge, France, Honduras, Ecuador, and Greece, and Spain. UNC Asheville has exchange programs with University College, Chester, England and nine German universities. Many other study abroad locations are available through the N.C. Consortium for Study Abroad.
The UNCA Classics Department offers a special archaeological summer program that takes place on site at Lithares, Boeotia, Greece. For students who truly want an interdisciplinary experience, UNCA offers special summer study programs, such as the Desert Ecology Study Tour of the American Southwest.
Student Organizations & Activities
Students may join about eighty clubs and interest groups, including a campus newspaper, theatre and musical performance groups, student activities board, departmental clubs and honor societies, Greek-letter sororities and fraternities, and an active Student Government Association. Of special note are the Outdoor and Recreation programs that take advantage of UNC Asheville's ideal Blue Ridge Mountain location. Outdoor trips for mountain biking, hiking, camping, rock climbing, and other activities are geared for both novices and experts. The new Health and Fitness Center is a hub of camps activity, offering state-of-the-art weight training equipment and indoor track and multipurpose courts. Intramurals, club sports and Division I NCAA athletic events are popular with students. Concerts, movies, comedy shows, lectures, art exhibitions, and entertainment of all types are part of the lineup throughout the year. The Cultural and special Events Committee brings nationally known performers to UNCA and the community.
Service learning is an important part of the UNC Asheville experience. Students are introduced to community service early in their careers. During orientation they participate in a community-wide service day, Bulldog Day: A Time of Service, when students work with area organizations such as Manna Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and others. Often the activities students begin on Bulldog Day continue throughout their years at UNCA. The Key Center for Service-Learning helps faculty and students integrate community service into the curriculum.
While first-year students tend to live on campus, almost 60 percent of the student body lives off campus. Due to that, in part, students say “neither Greek life nor sports are dominating values here.” “It’s not a typical party school,” says a biology major. Instead “students like to head out on the town for a night out” or take advantage of the natural surroundings. Happy undergrads call Asheville a “perfect student town” that “offers incredible restaurants, night life, music, dancing, and more.” Downtown Asheville is “really close” to campus making it “a popular hang out, where you can go dancing, drinking, shopping, eating.” One student notes that there are great “music and skateboarding scenes” in Asheville. “I skateboard, read, watch television and play video games,” says one typical student, but adds that students also “hike, go to scenic mountain views, [and] enjoy our Appalachian environment.” UNC Ashville is right “next to the Blue Ridge Parkway so there are tons of outdoor activities to do.” In fact, just a 30-minute drive brings students to 500,000 acres of National Forest, where students can go “whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, skiing, and zip lining.”