ECSU picked for statewide IEI forum


Pictured from Left to Right: Russ Haddad, Rotary Foundation Benefactor and Elizabeth City Morning Rotary Club Member and Jim Findley, Rotary District Governor.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A community engagement initiative at Elizabeth City State University is one of five such programs across the state chosen to participate in an Emerging Issues Forum in Asheville next month.

The Institute for Emerging Issues at N.C. State University selected ECSU’s “One Team. One Goal. One Community.” to join four other community initiatives being showcased at IEI’s “ReCONNECT to Community” in Asheville on Sept. 17.

Forum organizers said the ECSU’s “One Team” initiative is intended “to design, develop and implement a civic action plan that provides greater inclusion and diversity of thought to the area.”

More than 30 programs from around the state applied to be part of the upcoming forum. In addition to the opportunity to present the initiative to a statewide audience, ECSU also will have access to IEI’s training and technical support.

Russ Haddad, ECSU’s director of community and economic engagement, said he is excited about being a presenter at the conference.

“I’ll be presenting ECSU’s story — and Elizabeth City’s story, because it’s not just about ECSU but about Elizabeth City,” Haddad said.

The initiative is bringing people together to address challenges in the community, he said.

“This initiative allows ECSU to take the lead in instilling a sense of involvement in the community,” Haddad said. “In this community we have groups of people who feel left out. We are trying to address that and become more of a united community.”

Haddad said there are many examples of ECSU students engaging in the community throughout the year. Two recent ones involved ECSU students volunteering at Food Bank of the Albemarle and packing school supplies for J.C. Sawyer Elementary School students during “New Viking Days.”

In addition to ECSU, the four other community initiatives selected to present at the IEI conference are the Rural Opportunity Institute in Edgecombe County; the Asheville City Schools Foundation; Explore Elkin; and the Community Innovation Lab at the Institute for the Arts in Winston-Salem.

IEI’s Emerging Issues Forum “ReCONNECT to Community: Solving Problems Together for a More Prosperous Future,” will be held at the Asheville Crowne Plaza Resort. Other speakers at the forum will include New York Times columnist David Brooks, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, UNC-Asheville Executive Director of Community Engagement Darin Waters, and N.C. State University Provost Warwick Arden.