Pellissippi State moves online for rest of semester, postpones commencement

Pellissippi State sign at entrance to Hardin Valley Campus
Pellissippi State is moving its classes and student services online for the remainder of the spring semester.

President L. Anthony Wise Jr. announced Thursday that it is in the best interest of Pellissippi State Community College faculty, staff and students to move classes and student services online for the remainder of the spring semester, with very few exceptions. 

This serious decision was made after the White House and the Centers for Disease Control revised their guidance that social gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer people, a challenge for any institution. 

To that end, all college events through May 11 have been canceled, effective immediately. Spring commencement and the Nursing pinning ceremony, originally planned for May 10, will be postponed until a later date, but will be held in person when it is safe to do so. 

We know this is not the semester you imagined. It is not the semester we imagined. But we will get through this together,” Wise said in an email to faculty, staff and students. “We have a dedicated group of employees working every day to ensure we cover all our bases so we can finish the semester Pellissippi Strong. This includes everything from offering advising and tutoring online or by phone to making sure our work-study students and part-time employees get paid, even if their jobs change to duties they can do remotely. 

Although classes are moving to an online format for the rest of the semester, at least one computer lab on each campus will continue to operate its normal hours. However, there will be a reservation system put in place after the college’s extended spring break ends March 29 to ensure that there are no more than 10 people in a lab at one time. The same is true for classes that need to hold labs on campus to complete the semester. Instructors may meet with nine or fewer students in a lab while practicing social distancing measures of leaving at least 6 feet between individuals. 

As Pellissippi State transitions to an online learning environment, students can submit questions and concerns about technology, coursework, and support services to our new PantherHelp team at this link. Pellissippi State will continue to update its website – www.pstcc.edu/coronavirus – with frequently asked questions, as well as new pages of resources for faculty, staff and students.  The college also will communicate with faculty, staff and students via their Pellissippi State email and Pellissippi State’s social media accounts. 

Meanwhile, Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services has suspended all non-credit classes until further notice as well and is working with those instructors to discuss rescheduling options. Those with questions about non-credit classes should call 865.539.7167 or email bcs@pstcc.edu. 

“Although these are challenging circumstances, I look forward to the day when we can gather in community on campus once again,” Wise said. 

View Wise’s video message to faculty, staff and students today at www.pstcc.edu 

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Pellissippi State hosts Family Visit Night for Latinx community at Division Street Campus

Three students from Venezuela
Pellissippi State students Kelvin Gonzalez, Alejandra Alvarez and Gabriel Gonzalez, from left, are among the Latinx students who have been sharing their experiences with prospective Latinx students and their families during Pellissippi State’s Latinx Family Visit Nights this semester. All three students photographed here are originally from Venezuela.

Latinx families in the Knoxville area are invited to Pellissippi State Community College this Thursday for the school’s second Latinx Family Visit Night.

“We are specifically inviting prospective Latinx students, but we would love for them to bring their families and friends to learn more about enrolling in Pellissippi State and the resources we have to offer,” said Enrollment Services Coordinator Selena Kimber.

The Family Visit Night, the second offered this semester, will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, on the college’s Division Street Campus, 3435 Division Street. Refreshments will be served.

The event is free, and there is no need to RSVP.

Latinx Family Visit Night will give prospective Latinx students and their families an opportunity to talk to Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students. Admissions, financial aid and scholarships are among the topics that will be addressed, as well as Dual Enrollment options for high school students who want to get a head start on college.

Drema Bowers, director of Student Care and Advocacy, also will be on hand to talk about the ways Pellissippi State can help students who have experience nonacademic barriers to success such as food insecurity, housing and transportation.

A panel of Latinx Pellissippi State students will share their experiences at the college as well.

“Everyone here has been a blessing,” said Pellissippi State student Kelvin Gonzalez, who just arrived in the United States two years ago from his native Venezuela. “Everyone has helped me out. I have felt very welcome here, which is very important when you’re an immigrant.”

Alejandra Alvarez, who has been in the United States for five years, agreed.

“I have really enjoyed Pellissippi State,” she said at the college’s first Latinx Family Visit Night in February. “The faculty and staff have been so welcoming and friendly.”

While Enrollment Services has intentionally reached out to Latinx high school students and their families for this event, the Family Visit Night is open to all interested Latinx families, as Pellissippi State has a robust community of students who are older than the traditional college age of 18-24.

For more information, contact Pellissippi State at 865.694.6400. To request accommodations for a disability for any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State Foundation raises more than $14 million for new buildings, student support

Student speaker Destin Hickman stands with L. Anthony Wise Jr. and second student speaker Jon Collins
Students Benjamin Bridges (left) and Angela Dixon (right) pose with L. Anthony Wise Jr. after the Campaign for Pellissippi State Celebration at the Hardin Valley Campus on March 6.

The Pellissippi State Foundation has wrapped up its campaign to raise money for Pellissippi State Community College’s two new buildings and other initiatives, exceeding its $10 million goal by more than $4 million.

The Campaign for Pellissippi State, a four-year project spearheaded by 60 volunteers, will support the college’s largest expansion in its 45-year history. Some $8.8 million of the funds raised are earmarked to help build the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in Knox County, the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County Campus and other capital projects.

Meanwhile, $1.6 million was raised for student support, including 10 new scholarships and 13 new endowments, and $3.7 million in grants were secured to support the college’s academic efforts and workforce development initiatives.

“We could not have met our lofty $10 million goal, let alone exceeded it, without the help of our volunteers and our donors,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., noting that 571 of the Campaign’s 1,547 donors were new donors to Pellissippi State. “This support is going to help not only our current Pellissippi State students, but generations of students to come.”

The practical impacts of the Campaign are far-reaching, from eliminating waiting lists for required science labs to expanding several academic and career programs including Audio Production Engineering at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, Culinary Arts at the Blount County Campus, Early Childhood and Teacher Education at the Hardin Valley Campus and Welding at the Strawberry Plains Campus.

Student speaker Destin Hickman poses with L. Anthony Wise Jr. and second student speaker Jon Collins
Students Destin Hickman (left) and Jon Collins (right) pose with L. Anthony Wise Jr. after the Campaign for Pellissippi State Celebration at the Blount County Campus on March 6.

Meanwhile, the college’s Student Opportunity Fund was bolstered to provide a financial safety net for students at risk of dropping out due to an emergency situation, and the Hardin Valley Garden and Pellissippi Pantry will grow to address the increasing number of local students experiencing food insecurity.

“Pellissippi State is charged with a most important mission – preparing the next generation workforce for our community,” said Campaign Chair Tom Ballard. “The funds that we raised will provide modern facilities and enhanced programs to ensure that current and future students have a solid foundation for success.”

Pellissippi State Foundation extends a special thanks to Campaign Leaders who donated $500,000 or more: Arconic Foundation; the Economic Development Board of Blount County, City of Alcoa and City of Maryville; Pilot Company; and Ruth and Steve West.

Pellissippi State employees and retirees also gave more than $500,000 combined to the Campaign, the Foundation noted.

A campaign impact video is available HERE. To learn more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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Join Pellissippi State for Women’s History Month events

Jennifer Brickey at lectern, giving faculty lecture
Pellissippi State Associate Professor Jennifer Brickey gives a previous lecture to a packed house in the Goins Building Auditorium. Brickey is among the female faculty on Pellissippi State’s Fierce Women Steering Committee and is giving a Women’s History Month lecture on March 12.

Pellissippi State Community College is celebrating Women’s History Month throughout March with lectures, films and readings with a focus on “fierce” women.

All are free and open to the public.

“Women’s History Month is an opportunity to highlight and reflect on the contributions of women every day,” said Professor Toni McDaniel, interim dean of Liberal Arts and chair of the Fierce Women Steering Committee. “March was designated as Women’s History Month by Congress in the late 1980s. In the 1990s, when Women’s Studies were first introduced at Pellissippi State, the college had a big celebration during the whole month. We think it is time to reinvigorate this celebration for a new generation of women in a new century.”

The committee, comprised of 11 female faculty, has planned more than 20 events spread over Pellissippi State’s five campuses in Knox and Blount counties. Next week alone the community can check out these lectures:

  • Tuesday, March 10
    Associate Professor Teresa Lopez: “Short, Brown and Female: Overcoming Student Perceptions and Imposter Syndrome,” 12-2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road
  • Thursday, March 12
    Associate Professor Jennifer Brickey: “Why We March: Art of Protest and Resistance,” 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus

For a complete calendar of Pellissippi State’s Women’s History Month events, visit www.pstcc.edu/events/womens-history. To request accommodations for a disability for any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State Media Technologies program to host Digital Storytelling Forum April 24

Female students operating cameras
Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program will host a Digital Storytelling Forum on April 24.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Media Technologies program will host “The Art, Science & Impact of Digital Storytelling” on Friday, April 24, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The half-day event is designed as a continuing education forum for professionals, faculty, students and alumni in East Tennessee’s digital, creative and strategic communication communities.

“We’re excited to welcome East Tennessee’s creative and strategic communications community to join us for learning, sharing and networking opportunities, as we interact with Pellissippi State’s Media Technology students who represent such an important segment of our industry’s workforce pipeline,” said Mary Beth West, volunteer chair of Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies development campaign.

Presented by sponsors The Hive and Discovery Inc., this Digital Storytelling forum will bring together thought leaders in digital production, creative services and brand storytelling to discuss industry trends and workforce opportunities as greater Knoxville continues to evolve as a nationally and internationally recognized center of digital content development for major broadcasting and consumer platforms.

All proceeds will benefit Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program, which offers concentrations in Audio Production Engineering, Design for Web and Print, Photography, Video Production Technology and Web Technology.

A full slate of session and keynote speakers will be announced soon. Planned break-out sessions during the forum will include topics such as:

  • Igniting the Power of Social Listening
  • Crafting Digital Messages that Motivate Audiences to Action
  • Building Greater Knoxville’s National Reputation as a Creative Community
  • User-Experience Trends in Digital Development
  • Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, Bias and What it All Means for Clients and Consumers
  • Employer Panel – Hiring Needs & Priorities for 2020-21

Registration can be accessed at www.pstcc.edu/bcs, with fee options including:

  • $55 for early bird registration by March 31
  • $25 for professionals to sponsor attendance for one Pellissippi State student
  • $25 for students
  • $75 to register between April 1 and April 20
  • $95 to register after April 20 or on site the day of the forum

The event will be held in the Goins Administration Building, but will include a student showcase and networking reception in the college’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art, which opened on the Hardin Valley Campus in September 2007. The building is named in honor of Ross Bagwell Sr., a pioneer in the cable television production industry, and his family.

“Pellissippi State’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art includes impressive facilities and technical capabilities for students to gain hands-on, experiential learning,” West said. “This event will be a fantastic opportunity for industry employers and hiring managers to tour the school and meet with students from the next graduating class.”

The Pellissippi State Foundation is welcoming more corporate sponsors until March 20. Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities during the event should contact Executive Director Aneisa Rolen at 865.694.6525 or alrolen@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State hosts first Family Visit Night for Latinx community

Pellissippi State sign at entrance to Hardin Valley CampusLatinx families in the Knoxville area are invited to Pellissippi State Community College next week for the school’s first Latinx Family Visit Night.

“We are specifically inviting prospective Latinx students, but we would love for them to bring their families and friends to learn more about enrolling in Pellissippi State and the resources we have to offer,” said Enrollment Services Coordinator Selena Kimber.

The first Family Visit Night will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Refreshments will be served, and a Spanish translator will be on hand to help those family members who may not be fluent in English.

The event will give prospective Latinx students and their families an opportunity to talk to Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students. Admissions, financial aid and scholarships are among the topics that will be addressed while a panel of Latinx Pellissippi State students will share their experiences at the college.

“Everyone here has been a blessing,” said Pellissippi State student Kelvin Gonzalez, who just arrived in the United States two years ago from his native Venezuela. “Everyone has helped me out. I have felt very welcome here, which is very important when you’re an immigrant.”

Pellissippi State staff also will explain the college’s Dual Enrollment options for high school students who want to get a head start on college, Kimber added.

While Enrollment Services has intentionally reached out to Latinx high school students and their families for this event, the Family Visit Night is open to all interested Latinx families, as Pellissippi State has a robust community of nontraditional students who are older than the traditional college age of 18-24.

The event is free, and there is no need to RSVP. For more information, contact Pellissippi State at 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi State celebrates Black History Month with Harlem Renaissance performance, other events

Actor and instrumental trio
“Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance” features one actor and a trio playing cello, piano and percussion.

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate the music and poetry of outstanding African-American artists by hosting the chamber music theatre work “Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance” as one of its Black History Month events.

The work, which features one actor accompanied on stage by an instrumental trio, will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The performance is free and open to the public.

“Of Ebony Embers,” written by Akin Babatunde and performed by the Core Ensemble of Florida, examines the lives of African-American poets Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay as seen through the eyes of the African-American painter and muralist Aaron Douglas.

Actor Dracyn Blount portrays all the characters while interacting with the onstage musical trio playing cello, piano and percussion. The trio will perform music by African-American composers ranging from jazz greats Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus to concert music composers Jeffrey Mumford and George Walker.

Since 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured nationally to every region of the United States and internationally to England, Russia, the Ukraine, Australia and the British Virgin Islands. The Ensemble was the recipient of the 2000 Eugene McDermott Award for Excellence in the Arts awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has received support from the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs, New England Foundation for the Arts, Palm Beach County Cultural Council, Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Virgil Thomson Foundation.

“Black history is America’s history,” said Pellissippi State Access and Diversity Director Gayle E. Wood. “February allows us to highlight the numerous contributions African Americans have made to American history. We celebrate the diversity of this history through music, art, displays, literature, theatre, food and much more.”

Lee Willis and Soulful Sounds Review performing on campus
The Soulful Sounds Revue featuring Lee Willis, center, performs during a Black History Month event on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in February 2019.

All events Pellissippi State has planned for Black History Month are free and open to the public:

  • The Tom Johnson Jazz Combo and Knoxville’s Soulful Sounds Revue will perform on the Hardin Valley Campus on Friday, Feb. 28 – the jazz combo at noon and the Celebration of the Music of Motown 6-9 p.m., both in the Goins Building College Center.
  • The WordPlayers, a Knoxville-based company of Christian theatre artists, will present the one-act play “Jackie Robinson Steals Home” at 11:50 a.m. Friday, Feb. 21, on Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus. The play should end at 12:45 p.m.
  • African-American Read-Ins will be held on all campuses, celebrating the work of black authors: 8:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Feb. 18 at Division Street; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 19 at Hardin Valley; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 19 at Blount County; times to be determined Feb. 19 at Strawberry Plains; and 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Magnolia Avenue.
  • Four “Monday Movies” will be shown on the Hardin Valley Campus, followed by discussions: “Mississippi Burning” on Feb. 3, “Selma” on Feb. 10, “The Hate U Give” on Feb. 17 and “Harriet” on Feb. 24. Each movie will be shown beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium with a discussion following in the Goins Building Cafeteria Annex.

Other Black History Month events include lunch with guest speaker Vrondelia (Ronni) Chandler, a Pellissippi State alumna and chief executive officer for Project GRAD Knoxville; opportunities to chat about “hot topics” with the Active Black Student Association; and student poetry displays.

For more information about any of Pellissippi State’s upcoming Black History Month events, visit www.pstcc.edu/events/black-history, or contact Wood at 865.539.7160 or gwood@pstcc.edu.

To request accommodations for a disability for any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State exhibit features 12 regional artists

Painting of a mom and child by a boat
Virginia Derryberry’s “The Voyage” is one of the works featured this month in The Figurative Impulse at Pellissippi State.

A new art exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College focuses on the human figure and celebrates that which makes us human.

The Figurative Impulse, the first offering in The Arts at Pellissippi State for spring 2020, is showing in the college’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus until Friday, Jan. 31, with a closing reception 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30.

The Gallery, located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road, is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This regional survey of contemporary paintings and drawings includes 12 artists from Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia.

“There is a diversity of mediums, messages and outlooks embedded within the work and quite a bit to take in within such a small format,” said Associate Professor Herb Rieth, who curated the exhibit. “The artists come from diverse backgrounds, generations, impetuses and are at many different points in their careers, yet they hold in common their concern for their fellow humans. That lens can be sympathetic, ironic or sardonic, but is used to focus on the motivations and machinations of other people, which in turn can act as a mirror of our own selves.”

Rieth, who has work included in the exhibit, had the idea for the Figurative Impulse two years ago, he said, as a reaction to the increasingly shrill and acrimonious debate between people on social media and in person.

“My thoughts at the time balanced between, first, ‘We are all human and, thus, why can’t we just get along?’ and second, ‘The human condition is endlessly fascinating in its attempt to plumb our own and other’s motivations,’” Rieth explained. “As the Technological Revolution has started to eclipse our humanness, I believe that we should redouble our efforts to celebrate that which makes us human.”

Artists who have works included in the Figurative Impulse include Randy Arnold, Tamie Beldue, Aaron Carroll, Virginia Derryberry, Samuel Dunson, Mira Girard, Jed Jackson, Vitus Shell, Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Jason Stout, Tom Wegrzynowski and Herb Rieth.

The Figurative Impulse is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Enter a ‘Winter Wonderland’ at Pellissippi State’s annual holiday concert

Group of students singing with Santa Claus in middle
Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff perform with Santa Claus during the 2018 Holiday Spectacular.

Pellissippi State Community College will wrap up its fall 2019 Arts at Pellissippi State series with its annual concert featuring all of the college’s instrumental ensembles and choirs.

The hugely popular Holiday Spectacular is a perfect time to catch performances of the musicians you may have missed earlier in the season.

There will be two performances of the Holiday Spectacular, which is themed “Winter Wonderland” this year: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

Both performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets are free and available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

The Holiday Spectacular will feature religious and secular selections performed by

  • Variations, Pellissippi State’s audition choir;
  • Concert Chorale, the college’s non-audition choir;
  • Faculty/Staff Choir;
  • Jazz Band and Bluegrass Ensemble, both audition groups;
  • Brass, Guitar and Percussion Ensembles; and
  • Studio Orchestra.

Among the selections this year will be familiar Christmas carols such as “What Child Is This?” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” as well as pop culture classics like “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Grinch.” And not only will audiences hear “Snow” from “White Christmas,” but the concert will end with falling snow, a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

Plan to arrive early to the performance of your choice to get a complimentary ticket, as seating is limited to the first 495 guests per show. While the performance is free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

The Holiday Spectacular is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State aims to ‘Pack the Pickup’ with food donations

Students with donated food items and Pack the Pickup poster
Pellissippi State students in Professor Lisa Fall’s Project Design and Management Class have been setting up Food Drive “Service Stations” this month to collect donations for “Pack the Pickup.”

How much food can fit in the bed of a pickup truck?

Pellissippi State Community College is hoping the answer is 10,694 items. That’s the college’s goal for this year’s TBR Annual Food Drive. TBR, The College System of Tennessee, is the largest system of higher education in Tennessee, governing the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.

“Our theme is Pack the Pickup,” explained Drema Bowers, director of Student Care and Advocacy, noting that the goal equals the number of students enrolled at Pellissippi State this fall. “We are collecting donations, and then we will meet with our community partners on Dec. 6 to pack a pick-up with our donations.”

In addition to collection boxes on all five Pellissippi State campuses in Knox and Blount counties, community partners are collecting for Pellissippi State as well: Regions Bank on Hardin Valley Road, Integrity HR Services, King University, Food City, Maple Street Biscuit Company, Cotton-Eyed Joe and Sitel.

“We are fortunate to have so many of our local businesses support our Pellissippi Pantry,” Bowers said. “They understand the challenges that some college students experience, including food insecurity, and they are eager to help.”

Students in Professor Lisa Fall’s Project Design and Management Class have set up Food Drive “Service Stations,” in tandem with the pickup theme, across all five campuses to help educate students about food insecurity and the Pellissippi Pantry, which provides food for Pellissippi State students and their families.

“We know we have students who don’t eat, who live in their cars,” said Fall, who also is serving as co-advisor of X-Hunger, a new student club devoted to supporting the Pellissippi Pantry. “This isn’t New York City. This is right here on our campuses, right here in our backyard.”

Student places donated food in box
A Pellissippi State student places donated food into a box on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. Pellissippi State has set a goal of collecting 10,694 items for the TBR Annual Food Drive, one item for each student enrolled at Pellissippi State this fall.

In fact, at this time last year, Pellissippi Pantry had 67 participants, Bowers noted. That number is up to 98 participants this year, representing 305 total people in those participants’ households.

“I think what I’ve learned most by participating in the food drive is that there are more people than you think that have food insecurity,” said Pellissippi State student Amberlie John. “Being provided with the numbers of last year’s participants in total versus where we are just three months into the academic year is astounding. By raising awareness of this issue, we hope to help those in need feel comfortable speaking out and asking for help – and to not be shy or ashamed of what they are going through.”

Financial contributions may be made this year in lieu of purchasing items, Bowers added. Every dollar donated equals two units of food. You can give directly online at this link provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation: https://sites.pstcc.edu/foundation/pack-the-pickup/.

For more information about the TBR food drive, contact Student Care and Advocacy at 865.539.7417 or ppantry@pstcc.edu.