RICHMOND, Ky. (June 5, 2012) — Municipalities and universities nationwide and beyond are struggling to do more with less.
This week, more than 200 city and campus officials from throughout the U.S. and several other countries are converging on the Eastern Kentucky University campus to explore ways they can pool their resources and work together to meet current and future needs.
“Town and Gown Partnerships for the Present and Future,” the theme for the International Town and Gown Association’s seventh annual University-City Relations Conference going on now through Friday at EKU, will be the subject of numerous presentations and breakout sessions.
Keynote speakers for the week-long event include Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; Ted Abernathy, executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board; Sixth District U.S. Congressman Ben Chandler; and Mary Pat Regan, president of AT&T Kentucky. AT&T is the presenting sponsor of the event. (Other sponsors are Kentucky League of Cities, FMB Advertising, Media Networks, Robert Charles Lesser & Co., Pepsi, City of Richmond, Madison County, Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q, Blue Grass Airport, Meijer, EKU Student Government Association, and the EKU Center for the Arts.)
Attendees are expected from dozens of states, from as far away as California, as well as Canada, Great Britain, Italy and possibly Australia and China. Municipal representatives include mayors, city managers, public safety officials, city council members, tourism officials, and others. University representatives include presidents, vice presidents, deans, community relations officers, campus safety officials, and others.
Many of the breakout sessions feature city and/or university officials discussing collaborative initiatives that have advanced the town-gown relationship and benefited residents and campus communities alike, such as the EKU Center for the Arts. The week also includes evening entertainment, including comedian Carl Hurley, a former EKU professor; a concert tonight at the Center by The Coasters, Drifters and Platters; and “Pops at the Ravine,” featuring the Madison Community Band. The “Pops” event, 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday in EKU’s Van Peursem Amphitheatre, is free and open to the public; attendees are encouraged to bring their blankets and lawn chairs.
“This conference is significant in the fact that so many city and university officials are coming to the university at the same time,” said Marc Whitt, associate vice president for public relations at EKU and conference chair. “The economic downturn has caused cities and universities to look more closely at how they might better work together and use resources in a more effective and efficient manner.”
Whitt added that more mayors and college and university presidents are planning to attend than in previous years of the conference.
“As we face some of the toughest challenges within every layer of our economy, how we engage collectively will determine if the challenges bring us together or pull our economies apart,” said ITGA Executive Director Kim Griffo.
For a complete conference schedule as well as registration and accommodation information, visit www.itgau.org/2012conference. Interested parties may also contact Whitt at [email protected] or 859-200-6976 or Griffo at [email protected] or 864-656-5077.
The International Town and Gown Association strives to become the primary information resource point for common issues between institutions of higher learning and the communities in which they reside, bringing together practitioners from varying fields to address immediate issues and future opportunities.