September 21, 2023

Remembering a Year of Giving

As the year comes to a close, this is a good time to reflect on our past accomplishments.

CSU has achieved many of the goals set for 2014 including creating new programs, refining academic courses, improving the company organizational health and more.

However, among our achievements, we are most proud of our efforts to help the community and various charities. The importance of giving, especially during this time of year, cannot be understated. Giving back to the community is a moral responsibility we all share as a way to help others and improve our society overall.

One of our most recent efforts was donating to the local Turkey Take Out campaign, which strives to provide families with a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day as well as non-perishable food items to fill pantries. Turkey Take Out is a community partnership of businesses, churches and organizations with a local elementary school in our area. CSU employees donated approximately 6,700 canned goods and $600 to the food drive.

CSU also contributed to another charity in 2014: Relay for Life. This is one of our favorite causes as we have participated in the relay and breast cancer awareness for several years now. In addition to Relay for Life, our staff participates in special raffles and challenges to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This year, we raised about $13,000 and I am so proud of our continued dedication to this worthy cause.

Along with many people across the nation, we had fun participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this year. After receiving the challenge from our sister institution Waldorf College, the CSU President’s Council took action to aid in their fight against this deadly disease. CSU matched the $10 donation of the first 200 videos shared by CSU students, alumni, employees and friends. Oh, and yes, members of the President’s Council and myself got drenched in ice water!

Another instance of giving back that I really enjoyed was hosting and participating in the local effort of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) at Gulf Shores and Foley High Schools (in two neighboring cities). The YEA! students visited area businesses and met successful entrepreneurs and professionals to develop a business or social movement idea and plan.

For the Gulf Shores program, CSU hosted a roundtable discussion which featured a panel of business leaders from the area who answered questions posed by the students and presented by a moderator. I am so happy this event allowed us to give the next generation of business leaders some insight and advice on what it takes to be successful. Hopefully, we planted a seed of inspiration in those young people and increased their desire to gain more education.

Alumni gather  San Diego

Alumni gathered for a picnic in the park in San Diego recently.

In helping others obtain education, CSU has recently presented several individuals with scholarships through various programs. Henry County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Office investigator Sgt. Steven Sanders of Abbeville, Ala., was awarded a CSU Learning Partner Scholarship while Duluth, Ga., police officer Aimee Oliver was presented with a Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship.

Our Student and Alumni Engagement team headed to the West Coast for an alumni reception in San Diego on Nov. 15. There were around 50 CSU and Waldorf alumni and students in attendance and I am told the outdoor event was amazing and that many didn’t realize there were other alumni and students in the San Diego area. “This event gave them the opportunity to meet one another and make an initial connection which is so important in relationship building,” said Student and Alumni Engagement Director Amanda Manjone.

Another exciting piece of news comes from our CSU Vietnam campus. Hoàng Minh Nht, became the youngest ever winner of MasterChef Vietnam. The 23 year old is pursuing her MBA and exemplifies the mission of CSU to give students the ability to get their educations while pursuing their professional dreams. We at CSU are so proud of Ms. Nhand this impressive achievement.

CSU’s parent company, Columbia Southern Education Group, held a grand opening for the new Center for Continuing Education in mid-November. The center, located next to Mayes Hall in Orange Beach, Ala., received a commendation presented by Alabama State Rep. Stephen McMillan on behalf of Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley and commendation and congratulations from Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne that was read before the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to staff offices, meeting rooms and a large training area, the center serves as the regional training center for the Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission.

As a reminder, CSU Outreach representatives will not be traveling much during the next few weeks due to the holidays, but they will be all across the country in January. Please visit here to find out when and where and please drop by if you are in the area.

From all the CSU family, thank you for choosing us and we wish you and your families all good tidings and a Merry Christmas!

Robert Mayes