MONTGOMERY – Dozens of community service projects are launching across Alabama as part of the Alabama Community College System’s 60th anniversary.
April is National Community College Month and marks the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee, a two-year celebration centering on the System’s anniversary and its impact across Alabama. Community college students, faculty and staff are serving alongside residents and members of several community organizations for some new – and many annual – events that support Alabama’s communities.
A majority of the community service projects happening in April are beautification and litter pickup projects in partnership with the Alabama People Against a Littered State (ALPALS) and Coca-Cola UNITED Spring Cleanup, “Don’t Drop it on Alabama”. In addition to the spring cleanup, ALPALS assists colleges and groups with the process for obtaining official road markers in their honor for the ALPALS Adopt A Mile, Adopt-An-Area and Adopt-A-Stream programs.
“PALS is proud of this wonderful partnership and we thank ACCS and Coca-Cola United for their commitment to not only the “Don’t Drop It On Alabama” Spring Cleanup, but for their committed stewardship for a cleaner and more beautiful future for our great state,” said Spencer Ryan, Executive Vice President of ALPALS.
“This successful and ongoing partnership not only removes litter from our ACCS campuses, roads and highways, neighborhoods and communities, but connects ACCS students and leaders with local communities to forge long lasting and productive partnerships for the future.”
Colleges participating in the first Diamond Jubilee community service projects in April include Bevill State; Drake State; Enterprise State; Gadsden State; Jefferson State; Northeast; Reid State; Shelton State; Snead State; Southern Union; Trenholm State; Wallace Community College Dothan and Wallace Community College Selma.
Dr. Coretta Boykin, President of Reid State, said community service projects are a priority for Alabama’s community and technical colleges. Reid State participates in several projects, including a summertime “Back-to-School Bash” that supports students within the Reid State community with school supplies, clothes and shoes for school.
“A strength of community and technical colleges in Alabama is our ability to know our communities well enough to have a stake in students becoming successful both in and out of the classroom and workforce,” Boykin said.
“We are well-positioned and committed to identify needs that make our communities better and stronger, which is why we’re continuing to grow.”
A kickoff for the Diamond Jubilee happened Monday at the State Capitol. The kickoff included a performance by the LBW Ensemble and “birthday” cupcakes were provided by students in the Trenholm State Culinary Arts program. Lunch was provided by the Paths for Success Foundation, which helps eliminates barriers such as childcare and transportation for residents desiring to attend college.
Speakers included former ACCS Chancellor Bradley Byrne, honorary Chair of the Diamond Jubilee who now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mobile Chamber. Alumni Jason Simpson, Chief Meteorologist for WVTM 13 Birmingham, and Tom McNeal, Workforce Development Manager for Alabama Power also spoke at the event. Lawson State student James Brinkley and Wallace Dothan President, Dr. Linda Young, were also part of the event.
“Our community colleges have been and continue to be a part of the destiny and future of so many people in this state. While some forms of higher education take great pride in their selectivity, community colleges take pride in taking a student where they are and taking them as far as their dreams, motivations and capabilities allow,” said Young, who is currently the System’s longest serving president and the first woman technical college president in the state.
Landmark legislation signed into law on May 3, 1963, laid the groundwork for what would become the Alabama Community College System (ACCS). Legislators wanted a unified system of institutions to focus on accessible training in “arts and sciences and in useful skills and trades” for current and future labor needs.
“Our success and the 60th anniversary wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the talented folks who are committed to the proposition that the community college system is the best organization to bring about change in this state, offering opportunities to everyone,” said ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker.
Future events Diamond Jubilee events include a Diamond Jubilee Gala, Golf Scramble, College Showcase, and a goal to raise more than $600,000 for Paths for Success. More information can be found at accs.edu/diamondjubilee
More events can be found by connecting with a local community college.
With 24 community colleges in more than 130 locations, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) is Alabama’s gateway to first-class, affordable education and technical training to compete in a constantly evolving workforce. More than 144,000 Alabamians benefit from the various certification, credential, dual enrollment and degree programs ACCS offers alongside leading industry partners. The System includes the Alabama Technology Network, which provides extensive training and service offerings directly to business and industry. ACCS is governed by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees.