ASU Community Partnerships: Center for Rural Sustainability Solutions

The Community Outreach Center, Home of ASU's Community Partnerships

The mission of Adams State Community Partnerships is to connect University resources with the community in order to increase the quality of life for all residents of the San Luis Valley.

ASU Community Partnerships has been working for years to improve the quality of life for the San Luis Valley community.  See a list of their major accomplishments here.


Rio Grande Sewing Training Feasibility Study

San Luis Valley Development Resources Group (DRG), Rio Grande Social Services and Rio Grande County contacted ASU Community Partnerships to request assistance in conducting a feasibility study to determine the viability of a sewing training center to be located in Rio Grande County. The primary purpose of the center would be to teach Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients’ soft skills such as showing up on time, following instruction and demonstrating good work habits.

The research team consisted of Mary Hoffman, Executive Director of Community Partnerships, and Brock Gallegos, Admin Assistant, Community Partnerships and ASU School of Business Alumni. The scope of the study included researching potential products such as inmate uniforms, hospital scrubs and novelty tourism items, to name a few. Potential community partners to be involved in the center such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Trinidad State Junior College, product designers and local retail outlets were also interviewed. Three locations were researched and identified in order to determine the entry cost of the operation. In addition, potential organizational forms were considered and owners/operators were researched and interviewed. For more information, call (719) 587-7372

Southern Colorado Film Festival

Save the Date for Thursday October 12th, Friday October 13th, and Saturday October 14th, 2017 for the 6th annual Southern Colorado Film Festival.

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, in order to support the festival's filmmakers, please call 719-587-7372.

Please visit SoCo Film Festival or SoCo Film Commission on Facebook for more information or call 719-587-7230.

Adams State University Community Partnerships is proud to partner with Sustainable Environmental and Economic Development (SEED) Park, International in bringing new economic activity to the San Luis Valley. In this partnership, both organizations are working to establish a model agricultural-industrial business park in which each business makes use of another's underutilized byproducts so that nearly no waste is produced. This will bring new industry to the San Luis Valley, provide for creative and unique business types based on the type of byproducts produced, and help keep the valley's environment clean. For more information, please see SEED Park, International's website.

USDA Proposal Facilitation Project

Most of the San Luis Valley has been designated a Strikeforce Area by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); a region that has been experience persistent poverty and has a high degree of socially disadvantage individuals, to which the USDA is committed to improving access to their services.

Towards that effort, Adams State University Community Partnerships is facilitating the development of grant applications to the USDA from businesses located in Colorado Strikeforce areas and non-profit organizations. Through this project, Community Partnerships is helping agricultural and rural enterprises gain funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency additions to their businesses, for improving and differentiating their product, for obtaining technical assistance, and more.

If you are an agricultural producer or small business located in the San Luis Valley or any other Colorado Strikeforce County, and are applying for USDA funding or are interested in how USDA funding may be able to help your project, please get in touch with us at (719) 587-8209 or (719) 587- 7372 to learn how we may be able to help you successfully develop your grant application.

Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Advocacy and Outreach Program

Under a 2501 Program grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of Advocacy and Outreach, Adams State University Community Partnerships is newly able to reach disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, including military veterans, and connect them with local and statewide resources that can assist them.  Towards that end, the department will assist disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in completing USDA loan and grant applications related to farm ownership and improvements, organize and facilitate a mentoring program to help disadvantaged farmers and ranchers build relationships with USDA programs and officials, and conduct and host workshops that present innovative, agricultural-related conservation practices to disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.  For an idea of what resources Community Partnerships may be able to connect you with, please see the USDA's new farmers website.

Xcel Energy Project

With funding from the Xcel Energy Foundation, Adams State University Community Partnerships will provide assistance to San Luis Valley businesses, including farmers and ranchers, to reduce costs through energy conservation and renewable energy application. Considering each organizations's situation on an individual basis, Community Partnerships staff and volunteers will analyze energy benefits from both private and public sectors to determine the best strategy tailored to the business's needs.

This project complements ASU Community Partnerships' longstanding work improving the San Luis Valley's economy by supporting the region's small businesses. By combining this project with other ongoing efforts at Community Partnerships, staff and volunteers will be able to connect enterprises with a wide array of viable resources and benefits for incorporating energy conservation and renewable energy measures.  For example, ASU Community Partnerships may help a business start their project by connecting them with a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to pay for 25 percent of an eligible purchase, then follow with a USDA loan guarantee for up to 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, then attach them to ongoing Xcel Energy benefits once the project is completed.

Creative Community Fellowship

National Arts Strategies, an organization dedicated to building capacity in the arts and culture sector, has selected Community Partnerships’ executive director Mary Hoffman as one of their 2015 Creative Community Fellows. Under this program, Mary is taking part in an extensive year-long undertaking that empowers all involved to use arts and culture as vehicles for positive change in their communities. Using the tools, training, and support this fellowship is providing, Mary is continually designing new, innovative approaches to pressing community problems, building extensively on Community Partnerships’ successful tenure in finding solutions to current issues pressuring the San Luis Valley. Through her work with this fellowship, the San Luis Valley community will soon find itself with new tools to restore and energize its communities.

Hemp Research Project

Excerpt from “Hemp: Colorado’s Next Big Thing” by Mike Rosso, Colorado Central Magazine, July 2015.

Mary Hoffman discovered the benefits of hemp while researching alternatives to plastic baling twine. The widely used twine is very difficult for rural San Luis Valley farmers to recycle, and the nearest facility to recycle it is nearly 1,000 miles away. As the executive director of the Center for Rural Sustainability Solutions at Adams State University (ASU), she began researching hemp twine as an alternative and possible cash crop for Valley farmers.

Hoffman was approached by ASU graduate Arnold Valdez of Rezolana Farms in San Luis, Colorado, and Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed in San Geronimo, California. They proposed a collaboration with ASU, with the end goal of determining the viability of hemp as an agricultural product for the San Luis Valley. Both had worked with University of California, Berkeley in a previous IH research trial. In the ASU collaboration, the primary interest is the commercial potential of hempcrete and hemp fiber. Fibershed, a nonprofit project, was founded by Burgess to address and educate people regarding the environmental, economic and social benefits of de-centralizing the textile supply chain.

After consultation with the school’s attorneys, the collaboration received the blessing of former ASU President Dr. David Svaldi and incoming president Dr. Beverlee McClure.

Asst. Professor of Biology Kristy Duran hopes to involve her plant science students in the project. Still at its early stages, many other research and student experiential learning opportunities are expected to surface. A number of ASU professors have designed courses where students must conduct research of various kinds. Other tie-ins could be chemistry, business, earth science and government. The new project is located on 1.5 acres in San Luis and will run until May 2016.

Adams State Carbon Reduction Project

ASU Community Partnerships facilitates a campus-wide volunteer group that strategically reduces Adams State’s carbon footprint. The group reports baseline data, goals and progress to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment program that is administered through Second Nature.

Members of the ASU Carbon Reduction Project are: Scott Travis-Facilities Services, Brock Gallegos-Community Partnerships, Dr. Jared Beeton-Earth Science, Betsy Chacon-Finance Dept., Rodney Martinez-Facilities Services, Karl Jolliff-Community Partnerships, Charles Bateman-Sodexo, Asst. Prof. Chris Adams-Chemistry and Mary Hoffman-Community Partnerships 

The Southern Colorado Film Commission

Adams State University Community Partnerships is proud to incubate the Southern Colorado Film Commission. The Southern Colorado (SoCo) Film Commission is an organization that supports and enhances the economy of Southern Colorado by promoting and increasing activity from the film, television, and media industry. The SoCo Film Commission is a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International. The Film Commission is also closely affiliated with Adams State University Community Partnerships, with the two organizations aligning their resources towards their common goal of economic development. Filming injects large amounts of money into their locations, as movie, television, commercial and other shoots create jobs, create customers for hotels, restaurants, and many other local businesses, and increase tourism in the area. The Association of Film Commissioners International estimates that a studio feature film with an average budget contributes $125,000 per day into their locations' economies, while New Mexico claims the economic impact in their state from filming in the year 2012 amounts to $673.8 million. The SoCo Film Commission represents Southern Colorado (particularly the counties of Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande, Saguache, and Mineral) to the film industry, attracts more producers to the area and to make the area a more viable location for film production. For more information about the Southern Colorado Film Commission, please contact Mary at 719-587-7372 or at


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