August 2016

Dear Group Members,

After a long hiatus the newsletter is now and up and running! The newsletter will be coming out monthly for the remainder of the year, and this issue is appearing just in time to commemorate our group’s first anniversary!

Even though it is summer and many people were out of town, our group continued to meet every Friday and to attract new members. I am very excited about the upcoming academic year. Our members have a lot of great ideas about new activities. In addition to our coffee and conversation clubs, which have been meeting weekly for almost a full year now, this Fall we are planning to start a book club and a cooking club! Stay tuned for more details.

In addition to our weekly Friday meetings we had a number outings over the summer. The first was an Ice Cream Social at Maple View Farm, the local ice cream farm. We also had a movie night at Silverspot Cinema here in town. Both activities were very well attended. During our regular Friday meetings we also did some new things, like a dumpling making session!

Another special tradition that we’ve started is having baby showers for expecting mothers in our groups. So far, we have had two. It is very nice to be able to celebrate this special moment, even though most of us are far away from our families and relatives. In a way this group has become like one big family. Here are some pictures from the last baby shower we had:

Baby Shower 1 Baby Shower 2


A major highlight of this summer was the production of a short video about our group by Carly Swain of the UNC Office of Communication and Public Affairs. The video is making its way around campus and our group is getting more well known in the university community! Thanks to Carly for making such a professional video. Check it out at this link:

I would like to thank our members Manal and Yulu for starting up the Coffee and English clubs once again this month. Good job!

Here are some pictures from various parts of the summer:

July 2 Movie Night July 1 Movie Night July 3 Dumplings July 4Nice PicIt has been a great and exciting (though hot!) summer for our group. We celebrated our first anniversary at at a Group Potluck on August 5 at Baity Hill Common room. Over 40 people came, including our group members, their spouses, partners, and children. There were also two special guests, Elizabeth Barnum and Jean Hughes, director and associate director respectively of UNC International Student and Scholar Services, who also wanted to celebrate our special anniversary with us. People were having so much fun that the event ended up lasting more than four hours. Also, a strong thunderstorm compelled everyone who had been hanging out outside to fit into the common for the second half of the potluck. It was a tight fit, but, on the positive side, everyone got to know each other! I want to thank Monica Boswell, Property Manager at Baity Hill, for permitting us to use the common room and for all her support for our group over the past year.

  • Here are some pictures from the event. image1IMG_5480

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At our last Friday meeting (on August 19), we did a really fun pillow-making activity using fiber fill. Our group members brought their old shirts and we filled them with fiber to make pillows. For some people these shirts carry special memories, and now they can be displayed as pillows! It was an easy and exciting activity that everybody enjoyed, especially the kids!

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Information about Weekly Meetings

  • Fridays, Weekly Get-Together, 10 AM-12 PM. Fourth Floor of the FedEx Building. Contact Lola Tasar at
  • Mondays, 10 AM – 12 PM. Coffee Club. Contact Yulu Qu ( for more information.
  • Wednesdays, 10 AM – 12 PM. English Club. Contact Manal Alfaouri (
  • Fourth Wednesday of the Month, 10 AM – 12 PM. Book Club. Contact Manal. The first meeting will be on August 31 at the FedEx Building.
  • Stay tuned for more information about the Cooking Club our group is going to start this Fall!

Campus and Community Calendar

  • Tours of the UNC campus are available every day at 10 AM through the UNC Visitors’ Center. Call them at (919) 962-1630 to confirm!
  • August 21, 2-3 PM. Free Concert at the Ackland Art Museum by local folk rock group The Carrborators. For more information:
  • August 22, 12-2 PM. Yoga and Tai Chi at the Ackland Art Museum, for a $5 fee. These affordable classes are offered weekly throughout the year. Check out for more information and to register.
  • August 26, 9-11 PM. Hypnotist-Comedian Peter Mamos at the Student Union.
  • September 1, 5:30-7 PM. Free outdoor concert by HipHop group NightShift organized by the Center for the Study of the American South.