In Black Belt Experience, UA Students Pursue Projects in Perry County

  • May 18th, 2017

Note: The University Fellows will work in a collaborative project around the Perry County Courthouse and a local baseball field from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 24. For coverage details, contact Richard LeComte, media relations, at or 205/348-3782. Cell phone: 205/394-3040.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s University Fellows are working and learning during May in Marion as part of the annual Black Belt Experience.

The program, in its ninth year, is part of the UA Honors College’s 57 Miles Partnership with Perry County. The projects run through Friday, May 26.

UA students perform service work on flower beds in 2016 at the Perry County Courthouse in Marion.

The group consists of 32 students, eight student leaders and five staff members, who are working on 14 projects.

Students travel across the Black Belt region to learn about the history and cultural richness of the area and to speak with community members, businesses and organizations.

Students worked with community partners in the spring semester to plan projects in healthcare, community engagement, education and economic development.

Among the projects are:

Smith Art Exhibit Opening: The photography exhibition’s opening reception will be 3 p.m. Sunday, May 21, at the Smith Building Gallery. The Smith Building Gallery is at 301 Washington St. in Marion. The new exhibit, “Home,” will feature the work of third-grade photographers from public and private schools in Marion.

City Initiatives: In partnership with city officials in Marion and Renaissance Marion, a community-based organization, groups are working on recording and displaying historical events, attracting tourists to the area, developing promotional and marketing material for the city, assisting in bringing back youth recreation and in supporting community arts.

School-Based Initiatives: Students will collaborate with the local schools and educators to facilitate classes in professional development, outdoor leadership and survival skills, ACT test preparation, science and technology exploration and holistic health.

LAMP Conference: LAMP is a leadership conference for students from Francis Marion High School to foster interest in ethical and sustainable community leadership. The goal of the conference is to cultivate relationships, inspire confidence and empower students.

Perry Lakes Park Renovation Project: Students will work with a local biologist and community members at Perry Lakes Park. The Perry Lakes Park and Wildlife Sanctuary contains about 600 acres available to the public for outdoor recreation, education, scientific research and other activities.

The University Fellows Experience is a community of elite scholars from diverse disciplines who share a similar passion of being change agents through commitment to leadership and service. Following the classical purpose of education — the production of good citizens — the University Fellows Experience strives to prepare the most able and dedicated students at UA for remarkable lives of leadership in, and service to, their community, state, nation and world.

The students, all of whom are enrolled in UA’s Honors College, spent the academic year researching issues affecting the Black Belt and developing programs to help address some of those issues.

For more information, contact Davis Jackson, UA Honors College, at or 205/393-8553.


Davis Jackson, UA Honors College, at or 205/393-8553


Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.