Alfred State College recently joined 13 other Appalachian-based colleges and universities at the 19th annual Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) Symposium in Washington, DC, to present The Urban Design Studio’s community visualization study of the village of Bolivar.
The purpose of the study was to help residents and municipal officials envision potential strategies for preserving and revitalizing their existing business district. The research team was led by William Dean, a professor in Alfred State’s Department of Architecture and Design; and Dr. Craig Clark, Alfred State vice president for Economic Development and executive director of the Allegany County IDA.
“This was an exciting project for the students to work on in collaboration with the people in Bolivar, and we had a great turn-out for the public presentation,” Dean said. “We also received a great deal of support from the Allegany County Department of Planning including Director of Planning Kier Dirlam and Assistant Director of Economic Development and Planning Angela McKay. This project illustrates Alfred State’s commitment to civic engagement, applied learning, and making a local and regional impact.”
Clark said, “The teaching project and utilizing Alfred State College students to energize our communities and develop plans for community development is important to economic development in Allegany county.”
To prepare for the ATP Symposium, 14 students enrolled in ARCH 7306 – Design Studio 5: Urban Studies, a for-credit academic course to design and lead research projects in Appalachian communities, to address regional challenges. Each ATP project focuses on one of five themes: outdoor recreation and tourism development; workforce barriers, community health and the opioid crisis; community development through cultural heritage and the arts; community planning and asset development; and Appalachian waterways and parks. As a capstone for the course work, students and their faculty sponsors travel to Washington, DC, to present their work to other student delegations, ARC leadership, and community leaders at the Symposium.
“I am very proud of the students representing Alfred State College as they continue their important course work toward building a better future for their communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “These students are engaged in work that benefits an entire region and represents an institution that has worked consistently within our region to prepare our next generation of leaders.”
Since 2001, over 2,350 college and graduate students from across Appalachia have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project. A recent survey of past participants found that 65 percent of ATP alumni still live in the Appalachian region and credit their participation in the ATP as either moderately or highly influencing their decision to stay. Over 85 percent of ATP alumni are employed, and report that ATP had a lasting impact on their career.
ATP is a partnership between ARC and the Consortium of Appalachian Centers and Institutes and is administered by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University.