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Community Relations

ORAU partners with local organizations to support STEM education and economic development

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and its employees invest in advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. From free workshops for teachers, technology makeovers for classrooms, summer science academies, hands-on camps and skills competitions for students, ORAU definitely makes a “STEMpact” every day.

  • Extreme Classroom Makeover winning class

    ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover

    In its tenth year, the $25,000 ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover was awarded to Mr. Patrick Pollock, fourth-grade math and science teacher at West View Elementary School, in Knoxville, Tenn. ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators like Pollock who are working to better the education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.

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  • Students in robotics class

    Education Grants

    In 2017, ORAU funded grants for 38 teachers from 14 East Tennessee Schools valued at $36,000. Educational materials and equipment purchased with the grants—such as iPads, computer software, robotics kits and more—help teachers continue to meet statewide curriculum standards and enhance the learning experience of their students in STEM subjects.

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  • 8th grade winners at the Pellissippi State Middle School Mathematics Contest

    Tennessee Middle School Math Competition

    ORAU continues to support the Tennessee Middle School Math Competition with an annual grant to the Pellissippi State Foundation. Over the past 14 years, more than 8,000 middle school students have participated in the competition.

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Making a difference in our communities

Whether contributing to more secure local economies through annual giving campaigns or encouraging our employees to donate time to various volunteer initiatives, individual engagement is a hallmark of ORAU’s commitment to supporting our community.

  • Group of volunteers cleaning roadway

    United Way and Community Shares

    For the tenth consecutive year, ORAU exceeded its goal of raising $100,000 in donations as part of its internal annual giving campaign that benefits the United Way and Community Shares, making total donations more than $1 million for the timeframe.

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  • Adult reading book with child

    Imagination Library

    As an original corporate sponsor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Anderson County, Tenn., ORAU has provided more than 350,000 books to area children from birth to age five since 2001. For more information, contact April Hackler at 865.241.4339.

  • Volunteers from helping paws animal network with puppy

    Raising $175,000 for animals in need

    Helping Paws Animal Network, a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports 30 animal rescue groups in the East Tennessee area, started in 2011, consists of 87 ORAU members and has donated a total of $175,000 to animals in need of food, vet services and homes.

  • Hands raised in classroom

    Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties

    For more than 20 years, ORAU has participated in the Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties school supply program. In 2017, ORAU employees contributed approximately $2,100 in cash donations.

  • ORAU volunteers at the Holiday Bureau in Oak Ridge

    Giving time and toys to kids

    Always mindful of the need to strengthen the research and education enterprise of our nation, ORAU never loses sight of the importance to also invest at the local level. ORAU’s outreach activities are evidence of our mission to advance science and education, starting with our own community and reaching out from there.

    Employees took turns playing the role of elves at the Holiday Bureau’s Toy Distribution during the holidays as they helped parents in need in the community find the perfect presents for their children.

  • ORAU volunteers helping build Habitat for Humanity House

    Habitat for Humanity

    Recently, ORAU celebrated the completion of the newest Habitat for Humanity home in Anderson County. In addition to the financial support totaling $50,000, many ORAU employees, along with their families and friends, volunteered over the course of 11 Saturdays and other days off to help build the new home. All skill levels, from those adept at hand tools to those who could help pick up debris, were welcomed. The home’s completion was celebrated with a dedication event for the new owner and her family in June.

  • ORAU employee Sheila Johnson and mats made from grocery bags

    Helping the Homeless

    ORAU employee Shelia Johnson and other members of Oak Valley Baptist Church recycle grocery bags by cutting them into strips and weaving sleeping mats for the homeless. Each mat takes about 10 hours to produce, and the plastic bags they’re made of provide insulation against moisture and cold. Many ORAU employees keep Shelia supplied with the bags to support her in her personal mission to help the homeless.

  • Eric Abelquist, ORAU executive vice president and chief research officer and Thomas Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory ring the International Friendship Bell at the dedication of the Oak Ridge Peace Pavilion on Thursday, Sept. 20.

    International Friendship Bell at the Oak Ridge Peace Pavilion

    “It’s been a long time since we’ve heard that sound,” Eric Abelquist, ORAU executive vice president and chief research officer, said after ringing the International Friendship Bell at the dedication of the Oak Ridge Peace Pavilion on Thursday, Sept. 20. Abelquist rang the bell with Thomas Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORAU is proud to be a founding sponsor of the Peace Pavilion.

See the ORAU community in action

Community Partners

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