Building community is a important part of the Blackburn Institute’s work. Several of these opportunities are required events as part of the new student curriculum. However, there are additional opportunities to for students to deepen relationships with their peers including students from other Blackburn classes.

Create Community

New Student Orientation

Upon selection their selection to the Blackburn Institute, new students spend time meeting each other with introductions, learning about the history of the Blackburn Institute, and a brief overview of the semester’s events.

D. Ray Pate New Student Retreat

The retreat, held off campus each March, establishes a sense of community and trust within the group based in the shared values of the Institute and a mutual desire to improve the state of Alabama.

Dialogue over Meals

Small Group Values Discussions

Blackburn students meet monthly with Institute staff and 10-12 of their peers for dinner and dialogue. These discussion focus on each of the four Blackburn values in the months of September, October, November, and February.

Fellows at the 2022 PARCA conference

Student Led Discussions

New and returning students are encouraged to coordinate with student officers to host discussions in the Blackburn office. These lunch and learns may feature student presenters or an invited guest speaker. 

Social Events

Fellows working on Heirloom Harvest

Student Socials

Student officers host social events each at the beginning and conclusion of each semester to allow students from various Blackburn classes to connect with one another over food and games.

Fellows working on Heirloom Harvest

Returning Student Reunion

Each Fall, returning students gather off campus for a fellowship dinner to celebrate their commitment to the Institute and reconnect with members from previous classes.