Representatives from Alaska Christian College were in Anchorage last week to pick up their new 2011 Toyota Sienna they were awarded during Toyota "100 Cars For Good" program this summer. Toyota awarded 100 vehicles to non-profits across the country in 100 days. ACC relies heavily on transportation, so the new vehicle was a welcomed addition.
"To have the van drop in on us is huge," said Jackie Smith, ACC executive assistant. "We never expected that we would win, but we hoped we would, it's a yahoo experience."
The college, located in Soldotna, entered the contest in February, and in April, was announced as a finalist.
"What that meant was that we had to make a video about the college," Smith said.
The video was published on Facebook on the contest's page and used in conjunction with the voting process. Each day, five non-profits would appear on the contest's Facebook page, and would be voted on by the public as to who deserved the vehicle the most. ACC's day was featured on day 12 of the competition, May 20. Smith said she saw ACC held 34 percent of the total vote as of midnight, which was enough to win. Exact results of the vote was not available.
The vehicle comes with many extras, some of which may be a bit extreme.
"It's got the push-button ignition, and probably more bells-and-whistles than is safe," Smith said.
Both of the side doors are automatic and can be opened with a push of a button. There is also a mobility seat, which will be beneficial if there is a student with handicapped needs.
Smith said 90-95 percent of ACC's students come from Western Alaska with no drivers' licenses. ACC currently has four minivans and three 15-passenger vans with the addition of the Sienna, which is a minivan. The fleet is instrumental in transporting students.
"We use the vans if they need to go to appointments or do errands in town," she said. "For the most part, all of our students come to us via flight so we have to run them back-and-forth to Anchorage."
ACC also has sports teams that need to be transported to sporting events.
"We've got our own men's and women's volleyball and basketball teams," Smith said. "We use those vans to get students and supporters to games and any activities.
"I know it's just a car, but it's a pretty amazing gift," Smith said.
Logan Tuttle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.