NCC Nursing Professor’s Land Donation Kick Starts SUNY Initiative To Build Village

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The college will collaborate with SUNY to develop a sustainable village and learning community in Haiti

Nassau Community College will be part of a statewide collaboration of 10 State University of New York (SUNY) campuses and five nonprofit organizations to establish a sustainable village and learning community in Akayè, Haiti. NCC Nursing Professor Emeritus Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur began the project with a vision and a donation of 40 acres of land in Akayè. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded SUNY a nearly $800,000 grant to support the project, which will develop educational, economic and social programs, resources and other needed services on the land.

Students, faculty, and staff from SUNY campuses will bring specific expertise to the project as follows: Nassau Community College (nursing), University at Albany (international development for management), Binghamton University (public administration), University at Buffalo (social work), Buffalo State College (performing arts), SUNY Cobleskill (agriculture and fisheries), SUNY-ESF (landscape architecture), SUNY New Paltz (disaster mental health), Stony Brook University (health sciences), and Upstate Medical University (public health).

“It is SUNY’s honor to be able to extend our hand in friendship to the people of Akayè through our shared focus on education while providing valuable learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff from throughout our System,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “This project began with a generous donation of 40 acres of land in Akayè from Nassau Community College Professor Emeritus Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur, whose vision has led us to today’s announcement. It is an enormous point of pride for SUNY to collaborate with the people of Haiti as we establish a sustainable learning community to farm the land and provide food, build a medical center to increase health and wellness, and deliver much-needed services and economic development across many sectors.”

The five not-for-profit organizations partnering on the project are: African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency (AME-SADA), Effort Commun Pour Le Developpement de L’Arcahaie (ECODA), Haiti Development Institute, Hope on a String, and YouthBuild International.

“Working in Haiti is an extension of how SUNY collaborates with other educational and cultural institutions to better fulfill its mission of education, research, development, and services,” said Bellefleur. “New York State is home to the largest communities of Haitian decent in the country. Working in Haiti is in service to the diverse student body, faculty, and communities SUNY embodies. As a nurse and professor of nursing at Nassau Community College, giving back to our communities in the U.S. and in Haiti has been central to my career, and a personal and professional endeavor.”

—Submitted by Nassau Community College

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