University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead learned firsthand last week about the work being done through the UGA Archway Partnership in Griffin-Spalding County, including student-driven design and engineering projects.
UGA Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum and Vice President for Government Relations Griff Doyle accompanied Morehead to the meeting with Griffin-Spalding Archway Partnership Executive Committee Co-chairs Chuck Copeland and Stephanie Windham and UGA Archway Professional Kristen Miller.
Dr. Thomas Hopkins, a member of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents also attended the meeting, which highlighted work done by UGA students in the College of Environment and Design (CED) and the College of Engineering to address priorities identified by the community.
CED students helped design a 12-mile master trail, created new signage for an industrial park and drafted landscaping plans for the City of Griffin. Students in the College of Engineering followed the CED students, completing the site work for the trail, which has been incorporated into the city’s comprehensive plan. Engineering students also evaluated two potential sites for an aquatic center and developed plans for the center.
Archway Partnership communities often are ideal sites for UGA students’ service projects because those communities already have a strong connection with UGA. During the 2018-19 academic year, 10 percent of UGA engineering students’ capstone projects are situated in Archway Partnership communities.
“These students are a tremendous value to Georgia,” Morehead said during the meeting in Griffin. “I keep hearing that over and over. All of these projects that our students work on tend to be community-based, which is great.”
In addition to projects, community leaders say intergovernmental relations in Spalding County have improved since the partnership began.
Archway-facilitated retreats and leadership training have helped improve cooperation between the county government, development authority, school system and the five cities in Spalding County.
“I feel so proud every time we meet, to see the way the elected officials work together,” said Windham, an attorney in Griffin. “That’s been the high point for me, watching that group together.”
“I don’t think any of this would have happened without Archway,” added Copeland, president of First National Bank in Griffin.
The Archway Partnership is a unit of Public Service and Outreach at UGA. It connects Georgia communities to the full range of higher education resources available at the university to address critical community-identified needs. Griffin-Spalding is one of 13 communities selected for the Archway Partnership since the program began in 2005.