Our view: College students make mark on Walker County
by Daily Mountain Eagle
Jul 29, 2012 | 886 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two groups of college students have been working tirelessly in Walker County this summer in an effort to improve our quality of life.

Fourteen graduate students from Auburn University’s Master Program of Integrated Design and Construction developed drawings for officials in Cordova to consider when rebuilding the city’s grocery store, fire station, library and municipal building.

The four groups, who made their final presentations to the community on Thursday, brought some innovative ideas to the table while also respecting the city’s history and unique character and accounting for the needs and desires of local residents.

Meanwhile, six students from the University of Alabama’s New College program have been living and working in Jasper for the past two months. Their individual projects culminated in this weekend’s Garden Fest at the local farmer’s market and community garden.

Walker County currently ranks last in the state in overall health. The students chose to tackle this complex problem by establishing raised bed gardens in two city schools, increasing awareness of a new health initiative called Shape Up Walker County and practicing what they preach while living with residents at the Haven of Hope homeless shelter.

It is worth noting that Walker County is currently the only community where New College students have an opportunity to complete a community-based research internship of this nature.

While the UA and AU students received an invaluable real-world education during their time in Walker County, we the residents are the true beneficiaries of the relationship that has developed between our local leaders and their respective universities.

Instead of spending their summer at the beach or in their own hometowns, these students came to a county where most of them had no ties and spent countless hours creating a brighter future for people they don’t even know.

Their outsider status was actually an asset because they had no preconceived notions of “how we do things here.” As a result, they were able to push the envelope a bit further than some local residents may have expected, but sometimes that is necessary in order for progress to be made.

These college students have left Walker County a better place. Now it is up to us to tap into our own creativity and passion to continue the work that they started.

— Daily Mountain Eagle