MTSU departments are ‘United for ALICE’ in address...

MTSU departments are ‘United for ALICE’ in addressing local social needs

Two MTSU departments are joining forces with the local United Way and the League of Women Voters to shed light on Rutherford County’s neediest residents.

“United for Alice: Examining Our Quality of Life” is slated for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the Miller Meeting Room of the Miller Education Center, 503 Bell St.

Meagan Flippin

Meagan Flippin

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available at the Miller building and in the lot across the street.

For those who can’t attend in person, the presentation is also available virtually via Zoom here.

MTSU’s human sciences and social work departments are part of the project.

Meagan Flippin, president and CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, will present the data set known by its acronym, ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — for Rutherford County.

“ALICE is a new way of conceptualizing and presenting information on the difficulties of households that earn above the federal poverty level but remain economically challenged to meet basic necessities of housing, child care, food, transportation, technology and health care,” said Cathy McElderry, chair of the Department of Social Work.

Gina Pisut, chair of the Department of Human Sciences, said students in both departments will help welcome guests and elected officials and will network with community stakeholders.

Dr. Gina Pisut, associate professor of apparel design, Department of Human Sciences

Dr. Gina Pisut

Dr. Cathy McElderry, chair, professor of social work

Dr. Cathy McElderry

“Such joint efforts have the power to raise awareness and elicit discussions for solutions to support these families,” said Pisut. “With an upcoming election cycle, this topic deserves much attention.”

McElderry said faculty are discussing possible joint classroom and experiential activities in which students could work together regarding the issue.

For more information, contact Claire Cook, an associate professor of child development and family studies, at or Flippin at

— Gina K. Logue (