The Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition is now accepting applications for communities, and community projects, to participate in the Cornerstone Leadership Development Institute’s S.E.E.D. initiative.

S.E.E.D. (Student Engaging in Economic Development) is a partnership developed between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition where college students, in participating courses, engage with the region’s communities to provide assistance and solutions to address community needs as a part of a for-credit curriculum-based course model.

“The Cornerstone connects S.E.E.D. participating communities and UAM faculty together to coordinate service learning engagement into college courses,” said Cornerstone Coalition Director Zack Tucker. “The purpose of the program is to encourage and inspire college students to become engaged to their region’s communities.”

The experience offers a community an opportunity to engage with the region’s budding young professionals and gain unique feedback from the area’s students. As a result of a community’s participation as a S.E.E.D. community, the Cornerstone Coalition will develop a report of the class’ engagement in the community; also providing the community with continual networking and program assistance after the course, Tucker said.

Monticello Market in the ParkSuccessful S.E.E.D. projects include the revitalization of a farmer’s market located in downtown Monticello.

“The engagement and research of UAM agriculture student Jack Pace, under the instruction of UAM instructor Paul Francis, has grown into a community based market that offers homemade crafts, art and soaps available for the purchase; in addition to homemade jams and jellies, fresh farm eggs and locally grown produce,” Tucker said. “By connecting Pace’s research, through the S.E.E.D. Initiative, with community partners such as the Monticello-Drew County Chamber of Commerce, Feed the Kids Community Garden and the County government, Pace’s student project resulted into actual community development.”

Interested communities may apply and review the criteria for eligible communities at the Coalition’s website. The deadline to apply for participation as a S.E.E.D. community is August 31. For more information or assistance completing this application, email Tucker at [email protected]

The Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition is the regional community and economic development partnership representing Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Desha and Drew counties. The Cornerstone Leadership Development Institute is the region’s resource for leadership development and civic education.