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Women of Vision pitch in at Carson-Newman Appalachian Center

Kathy May of Knoxville, a 1979 Carson-Newman University alumna, helps renovate the school’s Appalachian Center earlier this month. The University’s Women of Vision (WOV) are giving back to their alma mater through a program called “Back to the Creek Week.”

by Kelsey Keny, Knoxville News Sentinel

(July 24, 2014)– Carson-Newman University alumnae aren’t afraid to get their hands a little dirty to spiff up the campus. This fall, the campus community will get to see one of their finished projects — a renovated Appalachian Center.

Women of Vision is made up of almost 300 women who support projects at Carson-Newman. The group reviews requests from faculty and staff, ranging from major capital projects to building furnishings. In the past, the group has contributed work to Swann Hall and Alumni Hall. Women of Vision approved 10 proposals in December for projects this year.

One of those was a proposal for renovations at the Appalachian Center, home to artwork, literary readings and various cultural events.

“It’s really not been renovated ever, so we’re just trying to use some gifts that have been given for some hands-on labor and make it look more inviting for our community guests and more purposeful for the events,” Kay O’Brien, Women of Vision chair and wife of university President Randall O’Brien.

Women of Vision not only secured donations for the $30,000 project, but they also put in some of the early labor this month during their “Back to the Creek Week.” Members cleaned the house and prepared it for renovations.

O’Brien and Appalachian Center Director Jennifer W. Hall said contractors are carrying out updates on the building’s porch and kitchen as well as creating additional group space, refurbishing a restroom and upgrading the facility’s furnishings. Hall said the renovations will make the building more inviting for students year-round.

“The programs hold their own, but for the students to want to come back on their own, they need to feel a comfort and belonging that I think this renovation will give them,” Hall said.

She also noted the appreciation for the support from Women of Vision.

“They really put their actions with their words. To be able to call them and say, ‘I know this isn’t necessarily going to save the planet, the Appalachian Center, but it is an important and integral part of what we do here,’ and they listen with such respect and really get things done that you’re amazed they can get done.”

The Appalachian Center will be open for Carson-Newman’s Oct. 25 Homecoming. Women of Vision are also sponsoring work in the university’s Dougherty Science Building, Kathleen Manley Building and Tarr Music Center.

Knoxville News Sentinel

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