Next week—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.
The agenda for this annual event–in the hands of Snyder and Horticulture Technology Department Head Dr. Elizabeth Riley–includes a day of workshops led by industry professionals, a career fair featuring 117 top landscape companies from across the U.S., and more than 700 participants pitting their horticulture skills in numerous competitions. The biggest single day of outdoor competition events is Friday, March 16.
Here are some key numbers for the 2018 National Collegiate Landscape Competition:
“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 historically a significant marketing and public relations opportunity—as well as an economic boost to Alamance County. Area hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets are expected to receive a boost from the event.
ACC Horticulture students have historically done very well at this competition. In 2015, competing against 850 students and 64 colleges and universities, ACC’s team bested its peers from across the nation, finishing 7th overall and first among 23 community colleges. It was the first time ACC had earned more points in competition than any other community college and come 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.”
Specific agendas include:
Thursday, March 15
8:00-9:30 am – OPENING CEREMONY, Lamb’s Chapel/ 415 Roxboro Road, Haw River (2 miles from ACC campus)
10:00am-1:00pm – CAREER FAIR (117 U.S. companies), Alliance Convention Center, 1214 Turrentine St., Burlington
Friday, March 16
8:00am-5:00pm – COMPETITIVE EVENTS/OUTDOOR (across campus)
Saturday, March 17
9:00-11:30am – CLOSING CEREMONY, Lamb’s Chapel