Shannon Heavin


Student provides support for survivors of sexual assault

UNC Charlotte sophomore Hailey Collins teamed with her friend, Emily Williams, to help survivors of sexual assault on or off campus via Our Story, a sexual assault awareness project and initiative.

Our Story was designed to not only spread awareness about sexual assault but support and empower survivors. It serves as an online blog dedicated to providing opportunities for survivors to share their story publicly or privately, connect with others and gain access to necessary resources.

“There are many times that when people go through traumatic situations, they don’t have support or they don’t know whom to reach out to,” said Collins. “It’s terrifying and you should not feel afraid. You should be able to reach out to someone.”

The blog received substantial growth last October after Collins posted a mass message among her peers reaching out to those in need. She was shocked to have received several positive comments and feedback after deciding to post her story in hopes to connect and help others.

“I want to stand up for people that don’t have support. Being a victim myself and going through those emotions and realizations that somebody could do this, is something hard to wrap your mind around. It happens too often in our society. I couldn’t sit and not do anything. I wanted to change this. I wanted to at least put in an effort to change this and help people,” continued Collins.

Collins is a leader in the university’s Health Systems and Management department, board member of Yesplus meditation club and member of National Residence Hall Honorary. She is currently majoring in health systems management with a minor in women and genders studies. She is originally from Connecticut, where she met Williams. Williams resides in Connecticut, where she promotes and progresses the growth and impact of Our Story.

“I have seen multiple people stand up, ready to fight because of these stories,” said Williams. “Our goal is to reach a viral, mass audience because, unfortunately, there are many more stories out there untold. We provide a hand and voice to those in need.”

The Our Story blog posts stories with writer-approval and maintains all authors as anonymous.

“We keep stories online as anonymous so people can have more strength to have a voice. The stories don’t necessarily need to fully expose survivors, but it’s empowering them, and that is our goal,” said Collins.

For more information on Our Story, visit

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, the Counseling Center and Center for Wellness Promotion are two confidential resources on campus. You can receive various areas of support through

UNC Charlotte launches Niblock Student Center

Niblock Student Center. Photo by Joseph Leocadio.

UNC Charlotte relaunched the academic, career and professional development hub, renaming it the Niblock Student Center in the Belk College of Business building on Jan. 9.

The center was reinitiated by a $2.5 million donation from Robert A. Niblock, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lowes Companies Inc., to help undergraduate business students throughout all stages of discovering, planning and achieving their academic and career goals.

In todays business world, you need more than technical skills to land a job,said Dean of the Belk College Business Steven Ott. Employers and recruiters alike are looking for the complete package when hiring. How you present yourself, express enthusiasm for the work youre doing and interact with others are some of the soft skills employers are seeking in new graduates. These are the skills that the Niblock Student Center builds.

The donation and naming of the center was first announced by Ott and Chancellor Philip L. Dubois in fall 2015. Niblock recieved a bachelors degree in accounting from UNC Charlotte in 1984 and was the schools first recipient of the Belk College of Business Distinguished Alumni award in fall 2016.

Robert Niblocks support is making a tremendous difference for our students,said Dubois. Many are first-generation college students, and many are working while studying in order to afford their education. The Niblock Student Center provides personal and career guidance to prepare students for lifelong success.

The Niblock Student Center in the Belk College of Business. Photo by Joseph Leocadio.

It prepares students with one-on-one academic advising and career coaching where students can gain insight in more options, degree requirements and potential careers and opportunities. In addition, it offers career and professional development workshops, such as the Lunch and Learn workshop series, where lunch is provided meanwhile a presenter covers various in-depth real-world topics such as negotiation skills, mentoring, networking, etc. The Women in Business coffee hours is another networking and professional development opportunity. More information and additional events can be found in the centers office, room 305 of Belk College of Business.

The center helps students put everything into perspective, not just for curriculum and course track guidance but to see more of the value of the Belk College of Business,said Mackenzie Mastrangelo, junior accounting major and peer adviser of the Niblock Student Center. Friday isnt just a building to walk in, go to class and leave. Its a place to get involved in and the advising center is here to help you get connected with resources and make the most of it.

The center was first established in 2012 with financial contributions from seed money of the Belk Foundation and the MetLife Foundation, along with donations from alumni and friends. Niblocks donation has helped grow the center significantly.

I am proud to call myself a UNC Charlotte alumnus, and Im proud of my accounting degree from the Belk College of Business,said Niblock. I know that UNC Charlotte provides a quality education for students, and I believe the Student Center provides the opportunity to enhance that education with coaching and personal skills that can help ensure success. The center provides UNC Charlotte graduates with the opportunity to develop career competencies as they enter the workforce while helping them stand out and reveal themselves as well-rounded, capable and creative leaders before leaving school and looking for that first job. The center sets our next generation of leaders on a path to do something of significance and meaning with their degree and to excel professionally, leaving a lasting contribution to our community and world around us.

Mastrangelo called Niblock an inspiration because of what he has accomplished with his accounting degree.

He didnt have nearly as many resources as we do now and what he did with what he had is truly inspiring. Now at UNC Charlotte, we have an abundant amount of great resources and support to help us succeed and network. So, use them. Come see us at the Niblock Student Center,” she said.

For more information, visit