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  • September 20th, 2021

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VACCINE ACCESS, HESITANCY REMAIN BARRIERS AMONG BLACK ALABAMIANS – Although hesitancy to get a vaccine for COVID-19 in rural areas continues to hinder pandemic recovery, research from The University of Alabama found that addressing both hesitancy and access at the community level is important to increasing vaccination rates, particularly in African American communities. In a report issued as part of a national effort aimed at strengthening the community’s role in an equitable COVID-19 vaccination campaign, a seven-person team of UA faculty members and graduate students recommend a community-based approach to reducing hesitancy and ensuring vaccine access. This approach involves the encouragement of local leaders and community advocates, familiar messaging modes, opportunities for questioning and respectful dialog, and vaccination opportunities that fit into the course of daily life.  For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, adam.jones@ua.edu.

PANDEMIC STUDY: PEOPLE UNDER STRESS MORE SENSITIVE TO MESSAGE TONE – A study involving more than 88,000 people from 47 countries conducted in the early months of the global coronavirus pandemic found people are less willing to take risks than before the pandemic. The research, which involves The University of Alabama, asked participants the same question framed differently, either highlighting the negative outcomes or the positive outcomes, a classic tactic in psychological research to gauge whether decisions are influenced by the way the information is presented. As outlined in a paper recently published in PLOS ONE, researchers found the distress of the pandemic was associated with participants being less risky in their answers and more influenced by a negative framing of the question when compared to a similar group in a study before the pandemic. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, adam.jones@ua.edu.

UA’s INDUSTRIAL ASSESSMENT CENTER SELECTED TO CONTINUE MISSION – UA is one of 32 universities across 28 states selected in the latest round of $60 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, its largest-ever cohort of university-based Industrial Assessment Centers. This new cohort of IACs will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning, and providing training to entities located in disadvantaged communities. Over the past 15 years at UA, the Alabama Industrial Assessment Center, or AIAC, helped about 250 manufacturers with energy conservation, waste reduction and productivity increases. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, adam.jones@ua.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA ONLINE SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR LEGENDARY SERVICE AWARD The University of Alabama Online is seeking nominations for its new Legendary Service Award that honors a past or present military service member who has made an exceptional, positive impact by serving their country or community. Nominees must have ties to Alabama or UA. The winner will be selected based on qualities such as excellence in performance, overcoming adversity and commitment to charitable endeavors. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 3. Nominations can be submitted on the UA Online awards pageThe selected honoree and nominator will each receive a tuition grant for three 3-hour UA Online courses, two tickets each to the Nov. 13 New Mexico State home football game, on-the-field recognition during a ceremony held at the game and hotel accommodations for that weekend. For more information, watch for a press release or contact Frank Farrar, UA Online, at jffarar@ccs.ua.edu.

UA LAUNCHES $1.5 BILLION CAPITAL CAMPAIGN – The University of Alabama launched the largest fundraising campaign in state history to raise a minimum of $1.5 billion in private donations to support all areas of campus — from student scholarships and faculty research to campus facilities and athletics. The Rising Tide Capital Campaign, focused on elevating the University’s prominence as a leader in higher education, has raised $940 million to date. The campaign will add 1,000 new endowed scholarships and 75 new faculty endowments, and it will impact over 500,000 square feet of space across campus. Additionally, the Crimson Standard component of the campaign will raise $600 million for athletic facility enhancements, program support and scholarships. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu.

UA WELCOMES RECORD NUMBER OF FRESHMEN, GRADUATE STUDENTS – The freshman class at The University of Alabama is the largest to ever enroll, and includes a record number of National Merit Scholars, one indication of the academic quality of students. There is also a record number of graduate students enrolled this fall as part of the University’s mission to provide a premier undergraduate and graduate education experience. This fall, 38,320 students are enrolled at the Capstone, which includes a record 7,593 freshmen, an increase of nearly 17% from the 2020 freshman class. Of those, 281 freshmen are National Merit Scholars, a 27% increase from a year earlier. Among all undergraduate students, there are 940 National Merit Scholars, also a record for UA. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu.

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The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.