Student Voices: Defining ‘The Secret Sauce’ of the Asheville Campus

A student perspective on what makes this campus so special

Story by Brandyn Wilcox | Published November 15, 2022

Student Voices gives first-person perspectives written by the students of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. For this piece, we hear from Brandyn Wilcox, PharmD candidate ’23 on what makes the Asheville campus so special.

​The city of Asheville and the Asheville campus have become such an important part of my own personal growth, and I know this is true for so many others, as well. Defining why that is (or what the ‘secret sauce’ is) can be a bit challenging. There is a wide variety of things that make this place such a unique experience, but I am going to try my best to pull back the curtain to show why this place is truly so special.

First, Asheville is just fun! Both on the Asheville campus and within the city, there is so much to do. Whether you’re interested in hiking/outdoors, food, breweries, sports (both professional and recreational), or art, Asheville has a community for it. The city of Asheville is known for being an inviting and accepting place for people of all walks of life, and the longer you spend here, the more you see that to be true. On campus, the events we are able to run are intimate, engaging, and impactful for our community, whether it’s vaccine clinics or creating cancer care kits for patients at the HOPE cancer center. Our wonderful community partners are always so grateful, and their initiatives are truly rewarding to be a part of. Being able to see so many of your classmates all coming together, especially around the holidays is always such a fun time! (This is especially true when Dean Scott is providing all the pizza!)

Brandyn Wilcox is a PharmD candidate, Class of 2023, and North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Scholar.

Second, and maybe most importantly, is the abundance of meaningful connections available on the Asheville campus. This includes not only the connections between fellow classmates in a cohort, but also between cohorts, with faculty, with mentors, with preceptors, and with the phenomenal community partners we have established over the years. The feeling you get walking onto campus knowing that every single pharmacy student and faculty member on the campus knows you by name is difficult to put into words. It can only be defined as family.

Finally, the Asheville campus has taught me how to advocate for myself, my classmates, and the profession of pharmacy. Being situated away from main campus, the issues and happenings of the Asheville campus are not known to the Chapel Hill campus without the communication from the student leaders in Asheville. Good or bad, learning how to navigate (sometimes) difficult conversations in a safe space with the guidance of wonderful faculty and former student leaders is a skill I will forever be grateful I was able to develop as a student leader of the Asheville campus. Whether it’s pharmacy-related or personal, being able to walk into the Dean Suite on any given day to be able to hear from such successful, genuinely kind, and caring faculty is something I will forever cherish. I know my journey would have looked so much different if it weren’t for their guidance over the years, and I am sure so many other Asheville students would echo that sentiment. The Asheville campus is devoted to helping students further their personal development, and I will forever remain thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this campus and this city.