Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall. Courtesy of Ben Schumin.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs. Want more education news? There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. You can help change that. Help us fund this position.

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Virginia Tech promotes bee habitats on campus

Wildflower meadows, pollinator gardens and native flower landscaping efforts are among the 13 student-proposed sustainability projects moving toward implementation on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. These proposals coincide with recent Bee Campus USA efforts on Virginia Tech’s campus, pushing to preserve pollinator biodiversity by enhancing pollinator habitat.

 Each year, the Office of Sustainability seeks proposals from student groups for campus sustainability projects that support Virginia Tech’s Climate Action Commitment.

Proposals are reviewed by the Office of Sustainability and submitted to the Energy and Sustainability Committee for consideration. The committee prioritizes the proposals and forwards their recommendations to the Office of Budget and Financial Planning for further review, approval and funding consideration.

Nearly $268,000 will go toward implementation of Green RFP projects submitted for the coming academic year.

Alongside proposals to increase pollinator habitat were submissions to enhance existing habitats on campus. Proposals to restore the old growth forest adjacent to Lane Stadium and build out the riparian buffer along Stroubles Creek were both approved in this cycle. 

Other funded projects include:

  • Rainwater harvesting system.
  • New occupancy sensors for lighting and HVAC.
  • New water fountains with water bottle refill stations.
  • Bicycle locker in Perry Street Parking Garage.
  • Additional and improved covered bicycle racks in multiple campus locations.
  • Water-efficient, low-flow appliances in residence halls.
  • More.

Since the Green RFP program’s inception in 2010, over $1.75 million has been allocated toward 123 eco-friendly projects on the Blacksburg campus.

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Nicholas Abernathy with members of the Schinabeck Family. Courtesy of SVCC.

Southside Virginia announces scholarship recipient

Southside Virginia Community College has named the first receipient of the Todd Schinabeck Memorial Scholarship.

Schinabeck, a graduate of Prince Edward County High School, also graduated from Southside Virginia’s Power Line Worker Training School in July of 2020. He was killed in a motorcycle wreck in October 2021. Family and friends created the scholarship in his memory to assist others in pursuing this profession. 

The first recipient is Nicholas Abernathy of Red Oak, who recently graduated from Southside Virginia Community College’s Power Line Worker Training School.

For more information on the scholarship, call the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation at 434-949-1051.

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New River Community College announces new course for apartment maintenance technicians

Registration is open for an upcoming apartment maintenance technician short-term training program at New River Community College.

NRCC, in partnership with the National Apartment Association Education Institute and the Virginia Apartment Management Association, is offering the 13-week training beginning Sept. 10. The course will provide virtual classroom instruction and in-person lab activities to become a maintenance technician in the residential property or commercial building industry. Students will learn the basics of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical, appliance, construction, painting, lock and key services, and repairs.

Students who complete the course will be eligible to sit for the Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician certification exam. Upon successfully passing the exam, students will receive their provisional certificate from NAAEI. After completing one year of experience in the industry, NAAEI will grant students their full certificate.

The regular price for the program is $1,950, but with special state funding, the discounted price is $650. Additional financial assistance may also be available.

The course is one of 11 NRCC FastForward programs that provide affordable and short-term training through the Office of Workforce Development.

To register, visit, call 540-674-3613 or email

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Vincent Brown. Courtesy of Southside Virginia CC.

Southside Virginia CC names Brown as men’s basketball coach

After serving as an assistant for the past 14 years, Vincent Brown, an associate professor of industrial technology at Southside Virginia Community College, was recently named as the head coach of the SVCC men’s basketball team.

Brown previously served with Dennis Smith, who stepped down after 18 years at the helm, to help guide the Panthers to four USA National Prep Postgrad titles with the most recent coming in March when SVCC topped Tennessee Prep 65-52 in the West National Collegiate Prep title game in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The other national championships for the Panthers came in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Brown also helped guide SVCC to Virginia Community College System state titles in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.  

The Panthers will kick off the 2022-23 campaign Nov. 5 when they play host to VCCS foe Mountain Gateway Community College.