Chamber Partners

The University of West Alabama

Do Something That Matters

The University of West Alabama is a state-supported, coeducational institution of higher learning governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor. As a regional institution, the University’s foremost commitment is to meeting the educational needs of the State and particularly of the West Alabama area. Valuing a diverse student population, it also welcomes students from throughout the United States and from other countries.

UWA Mission/Vision:

UWA Division of Education Outreach:

One University of West Alabama Department, the Division of Educational Outreach, is actively seeking to meet the social and cultural needs of the Alabama Black Belt region.

UWA’s Center of the Study of the Black Belt has taken on numerous successful initiatives with the inspiration and guidance from Dr. Tina Jones, Dean of the Division of Educational Outreach. One such initiative is the Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area. The Black Belt Heritage Area reaches across 19 counties in Alabama‟s Black Belt region and was established to bring economic development to these coun-ties. It was also designed to promote tourism within the area; to enhance, preserve, and interpret the Area‟s unique cultural, historical, and natural resources; and to educate local residents and visitors about the importance of the Black Belt region.

Through the Division of Educational Outreach, the Center offers numerous workshops and continuing education courses. Over the past few years they have offered such courses as Fused Glass Jewelry, a very popular one, Monday Mosaics, a Genealogy Workshop, the Sucarnochee Revue, and a Hood Rug Workshop. And their calendar for the summer and fall of this year is filled with more Monday Mosaics and Fused Glass Jewelry classes and the Sucarnochee BBQ and Blues.

To learn about the Center‟s other initiatives and for additional information regarding the Black Belt Heritage Area, please visit their websites at or

UWA Athletics:

UWA Clubs/Organizations:

All About Toastmaster Flier[1]


Alabama Entrepreneurial Research Network (AERN)

On March 11, 2011 the Sumter County Alabama Chamber of Commerce entered into a partnership with the Alabama Entrepreneurial Research Network (AERN).  AERN is a program that has been established to enhance business development throughout 17 rural Alabama counties, and is directed through the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.

The AERN center at the Chamber office offers the following resources:

  • Computer and printer
  • Business planning software – Business Pro
  • Set of specialized business reference books
  • someone who will help you

The center also provides you with:

  • steps to take when starting your own business
  • industry and economic profiles of your county
  • useful internet sites and links to becoming an entrepreneur
  • checklists one needs to have when opening a business
  • access to the University of Alabama’s business library resources and business researchers

AERN 2013 Annual Newsletter

Also, visit the AERN website:


Alabama Black Belt Adventures

A non-profit organization “dedicated to marketing the world-class hunting and fishing destinations throughout Alabama’s Black Belt region.”