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Building Sustainable Communities

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The Arkansas Department of Higher Education recently announced the selection of three Arkansas communities as pilot sites in its Sustainable Communities through Community College Leadership initiative.  The initiative will be locally based and will build upon partnerships that currently exist between the community college and the communities it serves.  As reported earlier, Arkansas Tech University – Ozark Campus was one of the selected sites.

As the Ozark Campus has moved into the implementation phase of this grant, a committee of local leaders was formed to steer its efforts.  The committee, called “Revitalize Our Communities Now” (ROCN), has met four times over the summer.  The most recent meeting included all community stakeholders, and was held July 26. The meeting yielded ideas from community members on how to identify, engage and leverage resources in our region to help bring people out of poverty and work with all populations to ensure a sustainable and thriving community.

Ms. Stacie Harden, ROCN Coordinator said, “We are honored to be chosen by ADHE as a pilot site.  The focus of ROCN is to help the community understand where to find resources and give the people who feel they haven’t had a voice in the past a chance to tell us in their own words how we as a community can improve their lives.  While we are in the early stages of this initiative, we have already identified some areas for improvement and look forward to continuing our work to support this effort.  ROCN is committed to doing its part to provide a community where people want to live, work and play”.

Mr. Bruce Sikes, Chief Academic Officer observed, “Building sustainable communities is an economic development activity. An outcome of ROCN will be to provide a community wide network creating personal stability and security”.

The next ROCN meeting will be held Thursday, 25 August at 5:30 p.m. in the Ozark Campus Student Services and Conference Center Rm. 117B.  Sustainable communities’ website: https://sites.google.com/site/sustainablecommunitiesinar/

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