A MESSAGE FROM THE CHANCELLOR | January 10, 2017
As our faculty and staff prepare for the first day of classes on Jan. 17, I find myself once again energized and inspired by the start of a new semester. The upcoming MLK Challenge on Jan. 21, a day devoted to service to the greater Boone community, is a reminder of our students’ amazing energy and deep commitment for serving the community through volunteer work and service-learning. Their work has been recognized by the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll, the Carnegie Foundation for the Engagement of Teaching, and Beyond the Books website for Excellence in Service-Learning.
Since its inception in 1988, Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) has provided service experiences as opportunities for students to connect and engage with others to build authentic relationships, stimulate critical thinking and skill building, and recognize individual impact and responsibility to the local and global community.
Locally, ACT partners with more than 160 organizations. These partners utilize the expertise of university faculty and staff, and provide service-learning and volunteer opportunities to our students.
Projects include activities that encourage students to get to know and give back to local communities, including blood drives, events to support those who face food and housing insecurity, support and fundraising for local charities and alternative service experiences, in which students travel to locations across the U.S. and abroad to assist organizations during scheduled university breaks. Extended initiatives include social justice training, the development of a database of local organizations for volunteer and service opportunities and leadership training and cultivation programs.
On the academic front, Appalachian offers nearly 100 service-learning and community-based research courses each year. Furthermore, our Civic Engagement Certificate Program honors students who have participated in a significant number of service-learning experiences and have distinguished themselves by demonstrating an outstanding level of commitment to civic leadership and social responsibility.
Students often say these opportunities to work in the community open their hearts and minds to ways they can make a difference, and influence their choice of major and career path. In turn, employers appreciate the resiliency and skills these kinds of experiences build in our students.
I am proud of our students and salute you, their parents and families, who have instilled a desire to serve and improve their communities, country and the world.
Best wishes for 2017,
Sheri N. Everts
At Appalachian, we put students first, always, and together we are building a bright future. Ultimately, the reason Appalachian’s stellar faculty and staff come to work every day is to realize this vision.