Virginia Tech conference to focus on community and university partnerships

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 22, 2004 – Community organizations and college and university faculty can learn more about working together at "Envisioning Partnership: The First Annual University-Community Partnership Conference," a conference that will be held July 12 through July 14 at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center on the Virginia Tech campus.

Virginia Tech's Service-Learning Center, which helps faculty incorporate community service into course work, will host the event.

This three-day conference will help non-profit and non-governmental organizations, communities, public and private schools, local governments, small business associations and cooperatives, and chambers of commerce explore ways in which communities and higher education can work together more effectively to provide assistance that communities want and need while enabling students to serve these communities within their college curriculum parameters. Seminars and workshops will also provide guidance for higher education faculty who would like to learn more about partnership opportunities and implementation.

Keynote speaker for the opening luncheon on July 12 will be Frankie Patton-Rutherford, executive director of Big Creek Mountain People in Action, Inc. (BCMPA) in Caretta, W.V. Community residents established BCMPA in 1990 as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation to address family, community, and economic concerns in McDowell County, the sixth poorest county in the nation.

Speakers for the 8:30 a.m. plenary sessions will be Randy Grayson, Virginia Tech professor and co-director of the university's Minority Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP), on July 13 and Jacqueline Dugery, Pew Partnership for Civic Change, a civic research organization established in 1992 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, on July 14.

The conference fee is $150 and includes lunch on Monday, break service each day, and conference materials. Two or more individuals from the same organization will pay only $125 each. Sessions on Wednesday, July 14, will be dedicated to university-community research partnerships. Anyone interested in attending on Wednesday may do so for a reduced fee of $90, which will include break services and conference materials.

More information and registration are available on the conference Web site at

A block of lodging rooms at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center on the Virginia Tech campus has been reserved for conference participants at the special rate of $76 for single or double occupancy, plus tax. To reserve a room, participants should call the hotel directly at 877/200-3360 or 540/231-8000 and mention the conference name. More information about accommodations and directions to the hotel are at