AIMS Community College offers 280 degrees and certifications, which include career and technical aviation, welding, and engineering. They have recently applied for their 1st bachelor's degree program. The campus, located in Northern Colorado, is one of the ten top-growing areas in the US. In order to meet the training needs of this expanding community, they have four campuses with 8000 students and 139 full-time faculty.
In preparation for the Greenhouse Challenge, the AIMS team hosted activities for each member to share a keyword of happiness and a theme they wish to cultivate moving forward. Words such as 'unity,' 'harmony,' 'kindness,' 'joy,' and 'happiness' were translated into symbols like rainbows, sunshine, human figures holding hands, and stickers with quotes like "the team that plays together stays together."
AIMS approached the greenhouse build with a focus on the optimal conditions for growth and how they can be applied to their strategic goals. These goals include creating more diversity, equity, and inclusion, which aligns with the condition of belonging. AIMS prioritize self-care by helping employees identify what they want to work on and grow in. So that both the individual and the organization can be accountable [another greenhouse condition] for that self-care goal.
The soil in the greenhouse represents support-how each member can help others to grow while supporting them in the services they provide within the college. They are implementing this concept within their faculty, teachers, leaders, and students [FTLS] team by being deliberate and intentional about building student wellbeing so that it is top of mind as faculty teach and help their students grow. Learning sessions focusing on student wellbeing, mental health, and identifying what impeds learning are available to the faculty. They walk away with actionable tools and resources for the classroom to free students' minds while being mindful of what they are experiencing. These sessions aim to roll out kindness- to ripple the impact- from faculty to students. AIMS is creating a community of care, which keeps students coming back because the instructors care, and there is a sense of collaboration.
The Greenhouse design and decorative elements represented all members of the AFIT representative team, a collective of faculty, staff, and administrators. The final design represented the community-building and collaborative values that AIMS Community College aims to represent daily. With that, the greenhouse design came together, earning AIMS the "Best Team Greenhouse!'
One way AIMS College ripples impact is with the Sunshine Team. Members of this team visit folks throughout the campus, dressed as sunshine and rainbows, delivering snacks, games, and a sprinkle of joy, showing care and support for all AIMS team members. The happiness team took it a step further during the pandemic by visiting quarantined colleagues to uplift and encourage them during their illness-keeping a safe distance, of course.
Each year AIMS holds Convocation Day, a professional development day for all employees across campuses. This year's focus is on creating sustainable growth using the DH Me, We, Community model and higher purpose and values frameworks. Recognizing prioritizing purpose and people is critical to success, the Employee Services team invited Sunny to guide them through DH exercises to take the learning from AFIT to the next level. AIMS is in the 5th year of its strategic five-year plan. It is a time of celebration and an opportunity for reflection on the original purpose, which was to build a stronger community—using this time to bring in all stakeholders to revisit and see if it still resonates.
The AIMs team loved the vibe of AFIT so much that they have begun implementing some aspects within their organization, such as placing fun items, like fidget toys, on tables during onboarding and using the DH playbook as inspiration for a playbook for new faculty. They left with a renewed commitment to the goals identified during the conference and, going forward, plan to implement them throughout the year. The entire team is excited for the bigger conversation and collaborations to come.