Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22A

PATRICK FEMI
A

BYRON MCCOMBS

WYT alumna helps rural UGA
students find their footing

B

riana Hayes, a senior from Baxley, has experienced
the isolation that many rural students can feel at the
University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, especially in their first
months on campus.
" It's very hard to plug in and find your people, " she says.
Hayes, who represented Alma-based Satilla Rural
Electric Membership Corp. on the 2016 Washington Youth
Tour (WYT), even considered transferring at one point. But
instead she created an organization to help meet rural students' need for community. Rural Students Igniting Success
in Education, or RISE, officially launched in September 2019,
with nearly 50 students at the first meeting.
Enrollment at UGA is about 38,000-many times larger
than the population of the rural students' hometowns.
" When you're from a small town, Athens is culture shock, "
says Peyton Lee, of Zebulon, a fellow 2016 WYT alumna
(representing Barnesville-based Southern Rivers Energy)
and RISE vice president. " It feels so great to walk into a room
where people all have Southern accents. "
Within a year of that first meeting, the RISE executive
board registered nearly 40 new members, secured a $2,000
UGA Parents Leadership Council grant and established part-

nerships across the state and campus.
" Since the start of the fall semester of 2020, more students have become engaged in the organization despite
personal interaction being limited because of the COVID-19
pandemic, and I attribute that to the heavy building we've
done, " Hayes says.
RISE works closely with the ALL Georgia Program,
which was established by the university in 2018 and is led
by a collaborative working group of students, faculty and
staff from across the institution. According to its website,
bit.ly/ugaallga, " the ALL Georgia Program is dedicated to
supporting students from rural areas and ensuring that they
achieve the same levels of success at UGA as their peers from
urban and suburban regions. "
ALL Georgia offers a variety of resources, including
Continued on page 22D

Top left: Briana Hayes, left, joins fellow Satilla REMC delegates Diego
Escobar, Sarah Youngblood and Haley Theis for a photo op in front of
the Supreme Court building during the 2016 Washington Youth Tour.
Top right: Members of RISE, including founder Briana Hayes (front
row, center), gather for a group photo in September 2019. For more
information, go to bit.ly/riseuga.

Virtual program in 2021 will recognize outstanding youth

+

While planning large group travel to Washington, D.C., is not a viable option for the summer of
2021, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, electric cooperatives across the state want to recognize
outstanding youth by providing a valuable leadership experience for high achievers in their coverage areas.
Gale Cutler, senior director of the Washington Youth Tour (WYT), says they are in the development stage
of creating a virtual program with live guest speakers and networking opportunities focusing on leadership
and community development, among other topics.
Keep checking with your local electric cooperative in 2021, either through their newsletter in Georgia
Magazine, website or social media platforms, for updated information.
www.georgiamagazine.org

22A


http://www.bit.ly/ugaallga http://www.bit.ly/riseuga http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Georgia Magazine - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22A
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22B
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22C
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22D
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover4
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