ASU Community Partnerships closes its door


ALAMOSA — For more than 10 years, Adams State University’s Community Partnerships has served the San Luis Valley community through a variety of outreach and activities. The department will close its doors on August 31.

ASU Community Partnerships began as a collaborative effort in 2005, through the vision of Dr. Richard Wueste, former Adams State president, and Mary Hoffman, executive director.

The idea was to expand Adams States’ role from strictly business development support to include community outreach and community partnering activities. According to Hoffman, these activities were driven by San Luis Valley residents’ requests.

“When Del Norte families discovered their homes were located on split estates they came to Community Partnerships for help,” she said.

A split estate occurs when the property rights to the surface and the underground are split between two parties. In this case, oil companies that own the mineral rights under the surface land have the right to drill and frack. Community Partnerships organized and coordinated several public forums that brought both sides of the issue together to gain a better understanding from each other.

With requests by Adams State students, Community Partnerships hosted community and national speakers, including award winning director Josh Fox, founder of Recycle Runway Nancy Judd, and author of Getting Green Done, Auden Schendler.

Hoffman obtained funding from HUD’s Office of University Partnerships, Boettcher Foundation and Gates Family Foundation to renovate the original Student Union Building to house Community Partnerships and also to host science K-12 outreach activities. Community Partnerships has been 100 percent self-funded through earned income and donations, which leveraged grants written by Community Partnerships’ executive director. Over the years, these grants have provided Adams State with hundreds of thousands of dollars towards indirect costs.

Community Partnerships was instrumental in organizing the Southern Colorado (SoCo) Film Commission whose mission is to promote southern Colorado, particularly, the San Luis Valley as a filming destination. SoCo utilized Adams State students to develop a locations data base that is often used to promote potential film locations throughout the region. The SoCo Film Commission, a non-profit organization, has facilitated many films including commercials, student films and full feature movies.
Karl Jolliff, Adams State School of Business alumnus ’07 and long-time employee of Community Partnerships, made his mark by assisting countless community members, including the Amish community, with technology issues, marketing and overcoming business challenges. Jolliff advanced the film production effort by completing the International Film Commission coursework and obtain certification for Southern Colorado Film Commission.

Brock Gallegos, ASU School of Business alumnus ‘15, joined Community Partnerships in 2013 as a student work-study. Gallegos’ focus areas include data collection, analysis and reporting of ASU’s environmental impact to a national coalition of colleges dedicated to reducing waste on university campuses throughout the country.

In 2013, Hoffman obtained funding from the National Endowment of the Arts to fund Ashville mural artist and ASU alumnus Ian Wilkinson to work with the valley community to create murals on the SLV Museum exterior wall. The colorful images promote diversity and community by representing all valley communities.

Other Community Partnerships programs and projects include: SEED Park International advisor and facilitators; Aveda Corporation recycling collaborators; Honor Flight Guardian; Chinese Business Exchange program developers; Guatemalan Mushroom Farm crowd funder organizer; cultural arts exhibit host; sponsor of many local authors’ book signings; ASU reusable bag coordinator; Art Behind Bars sponsor; plastic twine recycling team members; court ordered community service facilitator; Focus the Nation campus host; The Lone Ranger casting-call campus coordinator; climate change leader; American College & University Presidents’ Carbon Reduction Commitment coordinator; and USDA grant proposal training facilitator. With these and many other projects, Community Partnerships has been committed to serving the San Luis Valley, including Adams State.

In 2015, Hoffman received the The William Funk Award by the Colorado Association for Non-Profit Organizations. This honor is awarded to only two individuals per year in Colorado who demonstrate exceptional leadership and achievement in the non-profit sector.  

“I want to thank everyone who supported the work of Community Partnerships,” said Hoffman.