Throughout the nine-month LA Program, class members learn about a wide variety of challenges and opportunities facing the greater Asheville area. Each month, the program focuses on a topic like education, local government, economic development, health & human services, or the environment. By the end of the year, the class will have met and heard from over 100 local leaders on these topics and had the chance to ask them questions about their areas of expertise.
Below you will find descriptions and pictures from two recent program days to get a sense for what a typical LA Program Day looks like.
Class members started the day with small group visits to Asheville High, Carolina Day, Emma Elementary, Francine Delany New School, Franklin School of Innovation, Hanger Hall, Asheville City Schools Preschool, an the Nesbitt Discovery Academy, before heading to UNC Asheville's Sherril Center to discuss what they had learned about education in our community.
Dr. Pamela Baldwin (LA 34), the superintendent of Asheville City Schools, and Dr. Tony Baldwin (LA 22), the superintendent of Buncombe County Schools, discussed the opportunities and challenges in their school systems. Ed Manning, the acting executive director of Leadership Asheville, led a discussion on leadership development. Guests from the academic and administrative side of UNC Asheville came for small group discussions, including Admissions, the Student Athlete Experience, the Classroom Experience and Changing Curriculum, Budgets and Legislative Agendas, Student Affairs, and Workforce Developement. Our last group for the day was UNC Asheville's Student Social Entrepreneurship, led by Mary Lynn Manns, a professor in the Management and Accountancy Department. This session featured presentations by students of their entrepreneurial endeavors, including:
- Sound-Fade by Logan Lueck and Michael Luney, a sound-proofing device for personal use to benefit those with learning differences and special needs
- E-Cycle by Bryan Berry, Elijah Hawley, and Maria Lomeli-Garcia, an electronic waste recyling initiative
- Mindful Mamas by Tara Williams, a subscription service for Hispanic families to have access to an on-call translator, advocate, and referral specialist
- BayBeeBox by Joe Baker and Michelle Rickenbach, a high-end baby supplies subscription box that will then use profits to donate baby essentials to families in need and provide meaningful job opportunities to unemployed mothers
- BuzzFuzz by Rosemary Fischer and Jacob Persons, an app that records civilian and police officer interactions
- #colorfulhastag by Amanda Holst and Charlie Svensson, an initiative to make donating money to worthy causes as easy as using a hashtag on social media
- ProTecht by Madison Eddings and Ben Eisdorfer, a wearable sexual assault prevention device
- UNCA Divestment Coalition by Jason Boyer, James Gardner Goodall, and Dan Pungello, an initiative to implement a student managed fund for specific university endowments
History and Diversity Day
Aftewards, they gathered at the beautiful and historic S&W event space in downtown Asheville. The class day featured two panel discussions about the history and diversity of the community. The first consisted of writers featured in 27 Views of Asheville, a collection of short stories and essays about our city. The panelists were Wayne Caldwell, an author, Rich Chess, a Professor of Literature and Language at UNC Asheville, and Johnnie Grant, the owner and publisher of The Urban News. They were moderated by Dan Pierce, Professor and Chair of the Department of History at UNC Asheville.
The next panel's topic was the Urban Renewal in Asheville, and featured Tyrone Greenlee, the director of Christians for a United Community, Priscilla Ndiaye, a chair of the Southside Community Advisory Board, and Jacquellyn Hallum, the Health Careers and Diversity Education Director of the Mountain Area Health Education Center.
Desiree Adaway, a consultant and coach for The Adaway Group, an organization that provides leadership and team building training, also lectured on 'Intent verus Impact: A Facilitated Reflection on Asheville's History & Diversity.'