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Students take part in an outdoor classroom.

From the desk of Chancellor Everts

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We are one of 357 universities and institutions with the respected community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation, and community engagement is one of our nine top-tier initiatives.

Community engagement, as defined by the foundation, “describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

That’s a long way of saying, we care about our community – local and global – and are actively working toward mutually beneficial goals. Here’s a small sampling of ways we are making a difference in the Appalachian Community and beyond:

  • As one of only two privately managed food services programs in the UNC system, Appalachian Food Services employs more than 900 people. Of those, between 500 and 700 are temporary positions filled by Appalachian students, work that subsidizes their education and reduces the financial strain on families, many from this community. We buy locally whenever possible, supporting local farmers while providing nutritious, sustainable and varied food selections. Read more
  • Our ACCESS scholarship program, which provides debt-free education opportunities to first-generation college students from North Carolina, was recently honored with summer school tuition support from the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, a valued partner in the High Country. Read more
  • The outdoor theatre Horn in the West and the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum are undergoing revitalizations beginning this year thanks in large part to Carson Sailor, a public history graduate student at Appalachian State University. His efforts should result in more local jobs, internships and other opportunities for learning. Read more
  • Long-standing and collaborative relationships with the Boone and Blowing Rock Chambers of Commerce and other creative relationships throughout the High Country provide opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to engage in service, research and educational and economic development activities. Recently, we have scheduled two leadership breakfasts to encourage communication and partnerships and build relationships across the High Country. Guests will include representatives from the town councils of Boone and Blowing Rock, commissioners from Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties, local police departments, state and federal representatives and university leaders. And, in an effort to join the art communities of Blowing Rock and Boone, a shuttle service between BRAHM and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is available for free during major openings.
  • The College of Fine and Applied Arts has leased a building in downtown Boone to house collaborative student and faculty experiences, such as AppLab, an interdisciplinary learning experience centered around finding sustainable and applicable solutions for challenges in the local community. AppLab and other interdisciplinary initiatives will provide students with the opportunity to participate in a hands-on studio, much like a professional work environment, while engaging with local, national and international organizations to develop solutions. Student and faculty work will be on display to the public each month during the First Friday Art Crawl, and all are welcome to drop by, learn more about the college and see our innovative student and faculty endeavors. The facility is located at 182 Howard Street.
  • In partnership with SkyBest Communications Inc., Appalachian’s television station, AppTV, has expanded its programming to Ashe and Alleghany counties, as well as Johnson County, Tennessee, and has increased coverage in Avery and Watauga counties. Read more
  • The growing number of qualified health care professionals and educators who will graduate from the Beaver College of Health Sciences will help reduce the critical shortage of health care access, particularly for residents in the rural areas of our state. Read more
  • From the very beginning of their contact with our university, students are offered an opportunity to find out about the local community and ways to get involved. More than 100 programs with a community outreach focus can be found on our university website: http://community.appstate.edu. Additionally, Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT), housed in the Department of Student Engagement and Leadership, is the clearinghouse for community service, service-learning and community-based research opportunities. Read more