Come next month—March 14-17 to be exact–the Alamance Community College main campus will be overrun by more than one thousand horticulture students and professionals from across the United States in what is certain to provide the Graham-based school—and Alamance County–national recognition.
Alamance Community College and its Horticulture Technology Department were named as the host site for the 2018 National Collegiate Landscape Competition, sponsored by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
Awarding a community college the host duties is a rare occurrence in the annals of the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Since 1977, only four community colleges have served as host site and in most of those occasions the community college was in a large metropolitan arena. Recent competitions took place at Auburn University and Colorado State University.
“Being selected as the host for this event is the culmination of a dream that started when we attended our first national competition event back in 2004,” said Justin Snyder, Dean of Industrial Technologies and former Department Head for ACC’s Horticulture Technology program. “This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our program, college and community. For a few days we will be the center of the horticulture industry.”
Bringing this national event to the ACC campus is expected to be a significant marketing and public relations opportunity—as well as an economic boost to Alamance County. Each year, the competition draws an average of 1,100 attendees, most of them students from about 65 universities and colleges across the U.S. The competition—along with a career fair and workshops—attracts major media attention. Area hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets are expected to receive a boost from the event.
The agenda for this annual event–in the hands of Snyder and Horticulture Technology Department Head Dr. Elizabeth Riley–includes scheduling a day of workshops led by industry professionals, a career fair featuring more than 100 top landscape companies from across the U.S., and hundreds of participants pitting their horticulture skills in numerous competitions.
ACC Horticulture students have historically done very well at this competition. In 2014, ACC earned more points in the competition than any other community college and came away with its highest overall finish among all the schools.
“We are more than excited to host this national event that will bring almost 1,500 individuals from across the United States to our campus and county,” said ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood. “It is a tribute to the College and to ACC’s award-winning Horticulture Technology program that the National Association of Landscape Professionals wants to bring their most visible annual event to our campus.”