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14 colleges, universities attending AC's No Excuse Poverty Initiative summit

Representatives from colleges and universities across 14 states, from Alabama to Washington, have registered to attend Amarillo College's No Excuses Poverty Initiative, scheduled for June 11-12 on the Washington Street Campus. (File Photo)

Representatives from colleges and universities across 14 states, from Alabama to Washington, have registered to attend Amarillo College's No Excuses Poverty Initiative, scheduled for June 11-12 on the Washington Street Campus.

The two-day summit largely focuses on AC's nationally acclaimed No Excuses Poverty Initiative, which earned the prestigious Bellwether Award at the National Police Summit and Futures Assembly in Orlando, Fla.

“It is an honor to showcase the work we are doing to break down barriers between poverty and education,” Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, president of Amarillo College, said. “In striving to increase educational access and simultaneously strengthen our community, the faculty and staff here have positioned the College as a national leader.

“That our poverty initiative could be honored with a Bellwether Award and become a blueprint for other colleges to adopt is incredibly gratifying and buoys our hopes of making higher education more attainable for everyone.”

Clare Cady, co-founder of the College and University Food Bank Alliance, will be the keynote speaker for the summit. Cady and scholar-activist Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab together conducted a case study of AC's poverty initiative, a project funded by the Trellis Foundation.

Cady will present their findings at the summit and discuss how AC's poverty initiative has helped markedly increase student success and completion rates.

AC's poverty initiative has five primary components: Social Services, Food Pantry, Mentoring Program, Career and Employment Services and Predictive Modeling of student success.

Sessions will be conducted on the second floor of the College Union Building and will commence at 8:30 a.m. on June 11 with Cady's address. Additional sessions will be on tap, among many others, are: "Building Your Advocacy and Resource Center," Creating a Systemic Approach to Eradicating Poverty Barriers" and "Focusing on Data to Remove Poverty Barriers."

The summit will also offer an in-depth look at how AC developed a College-wide, 8-week course model that has significantly increased success rates, elevated degree/certificate attainment and helped transition 14 percent of students from part-time to full-time status.

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