Category Archives: Community

Pellissippi State hosts permaculture expert Peter Bane for lecture

Where is your next meal coming from?

Not a question of poverty but a statement about food security, it’s the topic of discussion when permaculture expert Peter Bane visits Pellissippi State Community College for an upcoming lecture.

The free presentation is 12:30-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3. It takes place in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is open to the community.

“The implications of the humble garden and of local food are far-reaching,” said Bane, author of “The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country.”

“Permaculture” refers to the concept of agricultural ecosystems designed to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Bane, a frequent lecturer and speaker, promotes urban and suburban “garden farming,” which may include vegetable gardens, tree crops, and even animal husbandry.

“From up in the atmosphere to down on the table,” he said, “I’ll speak about how permaculture, climate security and food security are things that impact everyone, every day. Considering the question ‘Where is my next meal coming from?’ is something that will make our food access safer and more secure in the future.”

Bane’s presentation is part of Pellissippi State’s ‘Good Food For All’ yearlong campaign. The campaign encourages civic engagement regarding food access issues through the college’s Service-Learning program and Sustainable Campus Initiative.

“Permaculture is all about working with nature and not against it,” said Annie Gray, Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning director. “On a practical level, it’s about harmonizing landscape design—urban or rural—with the daily lives of human beings who need secure access to food, shelter, energy, and income.”

“With climate and energy challenges in front of us, knowing how to provide basic human needs as close to home as possible is becoming increasingly important,” said Chad Hellwinckel, founder of Knoxville’s Permaculture Guild, which is sponsoring the Pellissippi State event. “Permaculture gives insight on how to let natural forces work for us instead of battling them.”

Gray, Hellwinckel and Bane say they hope the presentation will be beneficial to attendees, whether or not they’re interested in gardening, who want to learn more about the benefits of local, healthful food.

Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program integrates community service with traditional classroom learning. The Sustainable Campus Initiative pioneers sustainable projects on all five Pellissippi State campuses. Together, the groups plan to put permaculture design into practice at a garden on the Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State student meets President Obama, spreads message of hope

4 people standing in an office, smiling.
Ashley Albritton and her son, Mason, accept tickets to the Jan. 9 Presidential address on Friday, Jan. 9, from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, and Vice President of Student Affairs Rebecca Ashford, left.

Ashley Albritton sits down at her kitchen table each night to study with her 13-year-old son, Mason.

As an added incentive to succeed, they also compete with one another to get the highest grades—Ashley at Pellissippi State Community College and Mason at Farragut Middle School.

At the end of the semester, their report cards hang side by side on the refrigerator.

Ashley Albritton is busy knocking out the prerequisites to apply for nursing school. She enrolled at Pellissippi State in 2013, with strong encouragement from her sister.

“It was just Mason and I, and I had been working in hospice and home health, just getting by,” she said. “My younger sister told me that I needed to get back into the world.”

Her sister also helped her apply to Pellissippi State.

“When I first got here, I felt like it was a joke for me to be in college,” said Albritton, “like I wasn’t worthy to be here. But now I feel like this is all a dream. My son tells me that college has given me back the light in my smile, the light in my eyes.”

Female holding up a box.
Ashley Albritton, on stage for President Barack Obama’s address at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, Jan. 9, holds up a small hope chest mentioned in Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.’s opening remarks.

Albritton was seated on the stage when President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visited Pellissippi State on Friday, Jan. 9. She shook President Obama’s hand from her place in the front row.

She had hoped to give the nation’s president a memento: a hope chest her father had given her when she was a child. Into this box, throughout her life, she has placed scraps of paper that represent all of her hopes and dreams.

“I want to give that box to someone else. The truth is, I can never say thank you enough to all the people who have helped me. I just hope to pass on my story so that it can help some other young woman follow her dreams.

“I don’t need my dream box anymore, because all of my dreams are coming true.”

Friday afternoon, Albritton gave the hope chest, instead, to Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who had featured her in his introductory speech earlier that day.

“Ashley is truly an inspiration, both to other students and to me,” Wise said. “She has a sincere heart, and through her strength and compassion, she proves, each day, that everyone can follow their dreams.”

Albritton hopes to become a medical missionary. She believes that her purpose is to give back and to serve. When she graduates from Pellissippi State, she hopes to go on to earn her bachelor’s degree and then a master’s to be an advanced nurse practitioner.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s academic offerings or its 40th anniversary celebration, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

TSBDC names 2014 Rising Star

group of people in front of a building with a ServPro sign
Tennessee Small Business Development Center director Larry Rossini presents SERVPRO of Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills and South Knoxville owners John and Kristina Greenway with the 2014 Rising Star award.

The Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, a division of Pellissippi State Community College, has presented SERVPRO of Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills and South Knoxville with the 2014 Rising Star award. The disaster-cleanup franchise is owned by John and Kristina Greenway.

The Rising Star award is the highest honor TSBDC has to recognize small businesses. The award honors business owners who have achieved sustainability and success and who contribute to the growth and development of Tennessee’s economy.

“John and Kristina Greenway have expanded their business from 1,900 square feet in 2009 to over 16,000 square feet and 23 employees today,” said Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC. “They had a bumpy start finding affordable space, learning on the go and managing a large number of jobs, but they have risen to become our Rising Stars.”

SERVPRO, which is based in Gallatin, specializes in cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties that incur damage from fires, floods, and other disasters.

The Greenways opened their franchise in 2009. Kristina had worked with the Knoxville TSBDC for years before that as a home-based entrepreneur, and the couple used TSBDC’s services to connect with SERVPRO after the pharmaceutical firm for which John served as district manager downsized.

“Without Larry Rossini and the TSBDC there would have been no SERVPRO at Rocky Hill,” said John. “We’d have never become a company. I needed someone to steer me in the right direction, and Larry was that guy. It’s because of him and the team at TSBDC that we found SERVPRO and got our start.”

Making the business a success wasn’t always easy.

“We were totally overwhelmed with work for the first eight months,” Kristina said. “We had a tough time keeping up as we taught ourselves what we desperately needed to know.”

But the couple’s dedication and hard work paid off.

In 2013, the Greenways’ business was recognized at the SERVPRO National Convention as “The Best” among 1,700 franchises for best practices. Last year, the Greenways also were recognized by SERVPRO, as members of the company’s Southeast Storm Response Team, for their efforts to help clean up post-Hurricane Sandy.

“John and I know we’ve built a team of quality people who understand the needs of our clients,” said Kristina. “Our mission is to restore customers’ lives, business and homes. We go the extra mile for each other, for our employees and for our customers.”

TSBDC is a network of small-business consultants offering services in 13 centers throughout Tennessee. For more information, visit www.tsbdc.org. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State generates $274 million annual economic impact

Pellissippi State Community College pumped an average of $274 million each year into the local economy over the past five years, a recent study shows.

The 27th annual analysis of the economic impact of the college on the Knox and Blount county area reveals that the value of business volume, jobs, and individual income created amounted to about $1.4 billion in the 2009-2014 period, or an average of $274 million each year.

Fred H. Martin, an educational consultant who completed the study, says local business volume—the total amount generated locally by businesses from the college’s direct and indirect expenditures—was $659 million for the five-year period. Of that total, $537 million came from non-local revenues, such as state appropriations, state and federal contracts and grants, and state and federal student financial aid revenues.

Although Pellissippi State had a total of 2,573 full-time-equivalent employees during the period, the total employment created and sustained by the college’s expenditures was estimated at 44,967 jobs for the five years. Of that number, 36,202 jobs were created by external or new funds.

Using the more conservative of two different calculations, Martin has estimated that the impact of Pellissippi State’s expenditures on personal income in the area amounted to about $708 million during 2009-2014, of which $589 million came from external or new funds.

Of the college’s $1.4 billion total economic impact, about $1.1 billion ($225 million per year) could be attributed to the infusion of new non-local revenues.

“This impact would likely not have occurred without the presence of Pellissippi State in the area,” Martin said.

The economic impact study notes that each dollar of local revenue coming into Pellissippi State generated a return on investment of about $3.54 in local business volume. The individual income generated ranged from $3.81 to $4.04, for a total return on investment of at least $7.35.

The study also projects that graduates who complete a two-year associate’s degree can expect to earn about $470,800 more over their work lifetime than students who have only a high school diploma. For the most recent class of Pellissippi State graduates, that difference could mean an additional $605 million in lifetime earnings, plus about $2.4 million in additional annual tax payments.

Finally, the study describes a number of benefits to society that are proven to accompany higher levels of education.

“The results of this economic impact study clearly demonstrate that Pellissippi State continues to be a major contributor to the economic base of Knox and Blount counties,” Martin said. “Economic impact is expressed in this study in terms of jobs created, business volume generated and personal income earned.”

The complete study is available at http://www.pstcc.edu/ieap/_files/pdf/factbook_datarpts/2009-14%20Economic%20Impact%20Study.pdf.

For more information Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Arrive early for complimentary tickets to popular Holiday Spectacular

Female ballerina with other ballerinas in the back and lit christmas trees

Join in the holiday cheer at Pellissippi State Community College’s hugely popular annual Holiday Spectacular concert, offered in two performances, 6 and 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4.

Part of Pellissippi State’s Music Concert Series, the Holiday Spectacular is free, and the community is encouraged to attend. Because space is limited, the college asks that guests arrive 30 minutes before each performance to receive a complimentary ticket. Tickets will be issued at the door to the first 485 guests, and having a ticket guarantees a seat.

The Holiday Spectacular, whose theme this year is “A Candlelight Christmas Evening,” takes place in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The concert features the talents of more than 150 Pellissippi State students and faculty in eight different musical ensembles, performing classical choral numbers, bluegrass, and jazz.

“The concert will feature exciting production numbers full of bright visual displays, as well as more quiet, intimate carols by candlelight to celebrate the warmth of the season,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator.

“Every audience member will leave the show with a taste of holiday cheer.”

The Music Concert Series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

While all events in the series are free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

For additional information about the Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State certified as a veteran-friendly campus

The state recently certified Pellissippi State Community College as a “VETS Campus,” in acknowledgment of the institution’s efforts to ensure veterans experience a successful transition from military service to college enrollment.

“This designation is important because it recognizes Pellissippi State’s commitment to educating our men and women who have served in the military,” said Rachael Cragle. Cragle is Pellissippi State’s Advising director. She also is project director of the grants that help fund a number of the college’s student veteran support projects, including the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center.

“This certification validates all of the work that Pellissippi State has done to establish our Veterans Success Center and to provide support for our student veterans,” said Cragle.

The certification is part of the Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act, which was passed into law earlier this year. The VETS Act recognizes colleges that not only deliver services to veterans but also “create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.”

Pellissippi State opened the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center one year ago this Veterans Day (Nov. 11) to provide space for veterans to gather, study, and relax, as well as to have access to advising and mentoring services.

The college provides pre-enrollment services—such as test preparation and help with benefits—through a partnership with the Veterans Upward Bound Program at the University of Tennessee.

The school communicates with its student veterans through email from enrollment to graduation and beyond, with the goals of improving retention rates and identifying situations that might require intervention. Pellissippi State offers veterans credit for military and other career experience through prior learning assessment, or PLA.

The college’s outreach programs to veterans are funded in part by a $37,982 Tennessee Access and Success Network grant and a three-year, $98,000 Tennessee Board of Regents Access and Diversity grant. Community partners include the Knoxville Rotary Club, the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council, and other non-profit and support groups.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s efforts to help student veterans succeed, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts inaugural ‘Take Back the Night’

WHO: Pellissippi State Community College students and employees and community members are invited to “Take Back the Night” to raise awareness of domestic and sexual violence.Take Back the Night” is an international awareness campaign.

WHAT: Pellissippi State’s “Take Back the Night” event features a short march and a “speak out” session featuring keynote speaker Kali Meister, a Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member, playwright, and rape survivor. Also on hand will be college counselors as well as representatives of local women’s health and community outreach organizations.

WHEN AND WHERE: Thursday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. on the Division Street Campus, 3435 Division St.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Medic Mobile at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus Nov. 19

Pellissippi State Community College hosts a Medic Regional Blood Center blood drive on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The Medic Mobile is available 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and the community is invited to donate to the blood drive. The mobile unit will be parked in Faculty/Staff Lot F1, located beyond the Visitors Lot in front of the Goins Administration Building.

Medic, a nonprofit organization, supplies 27 area hospitals with volunteer donations. Medic representatives say there is a need for all blood types.

Potential donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors should not fast before arriving. Medic suggests that donors eat a meal and drink fluids approximately three hours prior to donating. Participants also are asked to present photo identification and a list of current medications.

For more information about donor eligibility, visit www.medicblood.com. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts Pulitzer-nominated writer David Madden Nov. 5

male speaking at a podium

Pulitzer Prize nominee David Madden reads from his newest book on Wednesday, Nov. 5, beginning at noon on Pellissippi State Community College’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Madden chooses excerpts from his newest collection of short stories, “The Last Bizarre Tale.” The reading is free and the community is invited.

“We are honored to have acclaimed author David Madden with us,” said Patricia Ireland, an English faculty member and advisor for the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club, which is sponsoring the event. “We feel certain he will serve as an inspiration to all of our aspiring writers.

“The fact that his reading is presented as a dramatic performance will certainly provide listeners with an entertaining and informative experience. He’ll be taking questions from the audience after his reading, so we hope everyone will stay for that part of the event as well.”

Stories in “The Last Bizarre Tale” include “A Walk with Jefferson at Poplar Forest,” “The Invisible Girl” and “Who Killed Harpo Marx?” among others. Copies of his books will be available to buy at the event.

Madden was born in Knoxville in 1933 and is the author of several novels, including “The Suicide’s Wife,” “London Bridge in Plague and Fire,” and “Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War.” Both “The Suicide’s Wife” and “Sharpshooter” were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Madden also is a prolific poet, short story writer and essayist, as well as an editor.

For more information about this event, visit www.pstcc.edu or call the Strawberry Plains Campus at (865) 225-2300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State honors veterans with week’s worth of events

Pellissippi State Community College serves one of the largest veteran populations of any Tennessee community college. In the week leading up to Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the college will host a series of events in honor of veterans—particularly student veterans.

“Student veterans often have unique challenges when entering or returning to school,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “Some of our Veterans Week events are geared toward helping student veterans overcome those challenges, and some of our events are meant to celebrate their service and the service of all veterans.”

A focal point in the week is a presentation by Capt. William Robinson, Vietnam veteran, former prisoner of war and author of “The Longest Rescue.” Robinson speaks 11-noon Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The schedule of events, all at the Hardin Valley Campus:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 4:
    • Flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. outside the Goins Building, featuring Rolling Thunder Chapter 3, an organization dedicated to publicizing the search for prisoners of war and those missing in action
    • Suicide prevention presentation, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center, to include information about prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action
  • Wednesday, Nov. 5:
    • “Missing Man” ceremony at 10:45 a.m. in the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center, featuring Rolling Thunder Chapter 3
  • Monday, Nov. 10:
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6598, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Goins Building Rotunda, to share what the VFW does to help veterans
    • “MASH” screening, noon-2 in the Goins Building Auditorium
  • Tuesday, Nov. 11:
    • Heroes’ Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m. in the Goins Building Cafeteria Annex to honor all of Pellissippi State’s student veterans
    • Cake and punch, noon-2 in the Goins Building Rotunda

For more information about these events or Pellissippi State programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.