A discussion of building a healthy local economy will lead off Frostburg State University’s symposium on “Sustaining Community and Community Wealth Building” on Friday, Sept. 15, as part of the annual Appalachian Festival. The symposium will provide the community with an opportunity to engage in productive and positive discussions about the region’s obstacles as well as its opportunities.
The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. on FSU’s Upper Quad with a presentation by Anthony Flaccavento, author of “Building a Healthy Economy From the Bottom Up.” Flaccavento is a nationally recognized sustainability thought leader who will introduce the audience to the innovators who are creating thriving, locally based economies and provide a road map for others interested in doing the same. He will demonstrate that, despite the success of local initiatives like farmers’ markets and clean energy cooperatives, true and lasting change of this type stalls without appropriate discussion and implementation of public policies that define their lasting impact. He will show how active citizens can spur essential changes, generate community capital, increase civic dialogue and foster sustainability efforts.
Following his talk, at 10 a.m., Katie Parker, a research associate at The Democracy Collaborative, will present “Community Wealth Building: Strategies That Invest in People and Place.” Her work focuses on how hospitals and health systems can leverage their business practices to support inclusive economic development. Parker is the co-author of the “Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities” toolkit series and conducts research on promising practices in the field of anchor institution strategies.
At 11 a.m., Mike Battle, senior vice president and chief operating officer for EA Engineering, Science and Technology, Inc., PBC, will present “Embracing Conscious Capitalism,” focusing on EA’s journey to becoming a public benefit corporation and its alignment with the company’s environmental mission, employees’ interest in supporting their communities and EA’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Friday’s events will also feature roundtable discussions with community leaders at noon, giving participants the opportunity to apply relevant case studies to regionally based economic development scenarios. Topics include anchor institutions, adventure capitalism and geo-tourism, local foods initiatives, co-ops and benefit corporations, Maryland State entrepreneurial opportunities and more. At 2 p.m., symposium leaders will offer an overview of the roundtable discussions and work with participants to develop a potential path for moving forward and following up on these ideas.
The symposium will conclude at 3 p.m. with a tour of what was once Brownsville, the home of Frostburg’s African-American community, on what is now the upper part of FSU’s campus. From 1927 through the 1950s, the state purchased property and homes in Brownsville to expand State Normal School No. 2, FSU’s original name.
The symposium leads up to the free festival on Saturday on FSU’s Upper Quad from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be live music, games, food and more.
Friday, September 15 at 8:30am to 3:00pm
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