Rodney carr, a91

Rodney Carr, a 1991 graduate with a double major in Mass Communications and Art, has become a symbol of community transformation and service. Beyond the confines of academic disciplines, Rodney’s journey has been defined by a distinguished career in the public sector and a passionate commitment to improving the lives of others.

Upon retiring from his impactful career at the state unemployment office, Carr didn’t settle into a life of leisure. Instead, he turned his attention to Bristol, Colorado, envisioning a community-driven approach to uplift the lives of its residents. Recognizing the lack of resources in rural areas, Rodney founded a nonprofit organization committed to addressing the unique needs of the Bristol community. The town of Bristol Improvements Board started as a group of community members who were dedicated to engaging in local projects and supporting local initiatives. In 2019, the board formally organized and through the State of Colorado, registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The primary mission of the board is to: Improve the overall quality of life for the residents of the Town of Bristol, Colorado, through the development and oversight of historical preservation projects and other projects that meet community needs.

What inspired you to support this project?

I was gifted a plot of land in the early 2000’s to steward on behalf of the Bristol Community with the intent to improve the community. What began as a small project snowballed into a whole non-profit organization and beyond building a community center, we will have a veteran’s memorial, a digital historical repository, a community garden, a kinetic wind sculpture and historic murals with QR codes to the digital repository. My hope in this is changing the narrative and perspective for rural communities; I want this to be the catalyst and the model for other small communities to collect history and improve the sense of community.

How did your degree prepare you for a career?

Going to college in Pueblo was the best thing I could have ever done. I always say bigger isn’t always better and I feel like I got a more 1:1 educational experience and benefitted from it. The people I met along my journey were the ones that stand out and have even helped me in this nonprofit career. I would like to give a big shoutout to former classmates, professors, alumni, and friends, Kim Bowman- current executive director of POSADA Pueblo who helped me with grant writing projects, Irene Grissom- who helped design the logo for the project, Stephanie Gonzales- Colorado Department of Economic Development, and Trish Orman- current Academic Director for the Presidents Leadership Program.

 

What advice would you give to a current student?

Don’t be ashamed if you’re from a rural community. Some people want to leave and get away from those rural roots but think about what you can offer to give back to your community. This is a long-winded way of saying, don’t forget where you came from. Be a visionary, think outside the box, and overcome the negativity to change the narrative and your perspective.

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