Community is their middle name

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, October 20, 2016

We are Southside Virginia Community College. “Southside Virginia” describes the geographic area we serve; “College” explains our function as an institution of postsecondary education; but “Community” is what characterizes our mission. Community stands at the core of our purpose and in the middle of our name.

Admittedly, some challenges have been significant, but only serve to make us stronger. For example, business start-ups have increased every year for the past three years. Employment rates also show recovery. Regional unemployment stood at 10.5 percent in 2010, and the most recent Virginia Employment Commission figures peg it at 5.5 percent. The college promotes regional and individual prosperity through a wide slate of education opportunities. Earlier this year, SVCC awarded Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts and Science, and other credentials to more than 1,300 students, opening many doors of opportunity. Furthermore, for the eighth year in a row, the Chronicle of Higher Education recognized SVCC as a “Great College to Work For.”

SVCC faculty and staff also maintain strong community connections. With more than 300 full- and part-time employees, the college’s workforce constitutes an armada of volunteers. They serve in areas such as fire departments and rescue squads.

They distribute food and clothing, provide health care and keep our region beautiful by picking up litter. SVCC employees serve on non-profit boards and committees; help out at festivals; and assist in schools, nursing homes and churches. They help build and repair houses, volunteer as coaches, and give their blood — literally.

SVCC student organizations include the Human Services Club, whose members seek to address needs among the elderly young, and mentally challenged members of the community. The Student Government Association networks with legislators to find solutions to educational issues.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College. He can be reached via email at