ASU Community Partnerships: Center for Rural Sustainability Solutions
The Community Outreach Center, Home of ASU's Community Partnerships
ASU Community Partnerships has been working for years to improve the quality of life for the San Luis Valley community. See a list of their major accomplishments here.
The mission of Adams State Community Partnerships is to connect University resources with the community in order to increase the quality of life for all residents of the San Luis Valley.
USDA Proposal Facilitation Project
Most of the San Luis Valley has been designated a Strikeforce Area by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); a region that has been experience persistent poverty and has a high degree of socially disadvantage individuals, to which the USDA is committed to improving access to their services.
Towards that effort, Adams State University Community Partnerships is facilitating the development of grant applications to the USDA from businesses located in Colorado Strikeforce areas and non-profit organizations. Through this project, Community Partnerships is helping agricultural and rural enterprises gain funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency additions to their businesses, for improving and differentiating their product, for obtaining technical assistance, and more.
If you are an agricultural producer or small business located in the San Luis Valley or any other Colorado Strikeforce County, and are applying for USDA funding or are interested in how USDA funding may be able to help your project, please get in touch with us at (719) 587-8209 or (719) 587- 7372 to learn how we may be able to help you successfully develop your grant application.
Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Advocacy and Outreach Program
Under a 2501 Program grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of Advocacy and Outreach, Adams State University Community Partnerships is newly able to reach
disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, including military veterans, and connect
them with local and statewide resources that can assist them. Towards that end, the department will assist disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in
completing USDA loan and grant applications related to farm ownership and
improvements, organize and facilitate a mentoring program to
help disadvantaged farmers and ranchers build relationships with USDA programs
and officials, and conduct and host workshops that present
innovative, agricultural-related conservation practices to disadvantaged
farmers and ranchers. For an idea of what resources Community Partnerships may be able to connect you with, please see the USDA's new farmers website.
Xcel Energy Project
With funding from the Xcel Energy Foundation, Adams State University Community Partnerships will provide assistance to San Luis Valley businesses, including farmers and ranchers, to reduce costs through energy conservation and renewable energy application. Considering each organizations's situation on an individual basis, Community Partnerships staff and volunteers will analyze energy benefits from both private and public sectors to determine the best strategy tailored to the business's needs.
This project complements ASU Community Partnerships' longstanding work improving the San Luis Valley's economy by supporting the region's small businesses. By combining this project with other ongoing efforts at Community Partnerships, staff and volunteers will be able to connect enterprises with a wide array of viable resources and benefits for incorporating energy conservation and renewable energy measures. For example, ASU Community Partnerships may help a business start their project by connecting them with a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to pay for 25 percent of an eligible purchase, then follow with a USDA loan guarantee for up to 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, then attach them to ongoing Xcel Energy benefits once the project is completed.
Creative Community Fellowship
National Arts Strategies, an organization dedicated to building capacity in the arts and culture sector, has selected Community Partnerships’ executive director Mary Hoffman as one of their 2015 Creative Community Fellows. Under this program, Mary is taking part in an extensive year-long undertaking that empowers all involved to use arts and culture as vehicles for positive change in their communities. Using the tools, training, and support this fellowship is providing, Mary is continually designing new, innovative approaches to pressing community problems, building extensively on Community Partnerships’ successful tenure in finding solutions to current issues pressuring the San Luis Valley. Through her work with this fellowship, the San Luis Valley community will soon find itself with new tools to restore and energize its communities.
Hemp Research Project
Excerpt from “Hemp: Colorado’s Next Big Thing” by Mike Rosso, Colorado Central Magazine, July 2015.
Mary Hoffman discovered the benefits of hemp while researching alternatives to plastic baling twine. The widely used twine is very difficult for rural San Luis Valley farmers to recycle, and the nearest facility to recycle it is nearly 1,000 miles away. As the executive director of the Center for Rural Sustainability Solutions at Adams State University (ASU), she began researching hemp twine as an alternative and possible cash crop for Valley farmers.
Hoffman was approached by ASU graduate Arnold Valdez of Rezolana Farms in San Luis, Colorado, and Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed in San Geronimo, California. They proposed a collaboration with ASU, with the end goal of determining the viability of hemp as an agricultural product for the San Luis Valley. Both had worked with University of California, Berkeley in a previous IH research trial. In the ASU collaboration, the primary interest is the commercial potential of hempcrete and hemp fiber. Fibershed, a nonprofit project, was founded by Burgess to address and educate people regarding the environmental, economic and social benefits of de-centralizing the textile supply chain.
After consultation with the school’s attorneys, the collaboration received the blessing of former ASU President Dr. David Svaldi and incoming president Dr. Beverlee McClure.
Asst. Professor of Biology Kristy Duran hopes to involve her plant science students in the project. Still at its early stages, many other research and student experiential learning opportunities are expected to surface. A number of ASU professors have designed courses where students must conduct research of various kinds. Other tie-ins could be chemistry, business, earth science and government. The new project is located on 1.5 acres in San Luis and will run until May 2016.
Adams State Carbon Reduction Project
ASU Community Partnerships facilitates a campus-wide volunteer group that strategically reduces Adams State’s carbon footprint. The group reports baseline data, goals and progress to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment program that is administered through Second Nature.
Members of the ASU Carbon Reduction Project are: Scott Travis-Facilities Services, Brock Gallegos-Community Partnerships, Dr. Jared Beeton-Earth Science, Betsy Chacon-Finance Dept., Rodney Martinez-Facilities Services, Karl Jolliff-Community Partnerships, Charles Bateman-Sodexo, Asst. Prof. Chris Adams-Chemistry and Mary Hoffman-Community Partnerships
The Southern Colorado Film Commission
Adams State University Community Partnerships is proud to incubate the Southern Colorado Film Commission. The Southern Colorado (SoCo) Film Commission is an organization that supports and enhances the economy of Southern Colorado by promoting and increasing activity from the film, television, and media industry. The SoCo Film Commission is a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International. The Film Commission is also closely affiliated with Adams State University Community Partnerships, with the two organizations aligning their resources towards their common goal of economic development. Filming injects large amounts of money into their locations, as movie, television, commercial and other shoots create jobs, create customers for hotels, restaurants, and many other local businesses, and increase tourism in the area. The Association of Film Commissioners International estimates that a studio feature film with an average budget contributes $125,000 per day into their locations' economies, while New Mexico claims the economic impact in their state from filming in the year 2012 amounts to $673.8 million. The SoCo Film Commission represents Southern Colorado (particularly the counties of Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande, Saguache, and Mineral) to the film industry, attracts more producers to the area and to make the area a more viable location for film production. For more information about the Southern Colorado Film Commission, please contact Mary at 719-587-7372 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southern Colorado Film Festival
The Southern Colorado Film Festival, a joint effort between the Southern Colorado Film Commission, ASU Community Partnerships, and many community members, is an annual event showcasing independent film production from around the world in Alamosa, Colorado. The 2015 festival, the third annual, will be held from October 15th-18th at Adams State University, and will feature independent films of all types, from shorts to full-length feature films, from the comical to the dramatic, and from home grown San Luis Valley-based films to those from filmmakers the world over. The festival provides both immediate, practical benefits to the community, such as providing a new cultural event to draw tourists to the area and improve communication among residents, as well as more long-term, internal benefits to the valley, instilling a greater sense of community and bringing local community members closer to matters in the greater world.
For more information on the Southern Colorado Film Festival, including tickets and scheduling, please see their website.