EC, ECSU to be featured at community-engagement event


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, November 19, 2018

There’s still time to join Elizabeth City State University’s “One Team. One Goal. One Community.” initiative and learn how to be more involved in the community.

ECSU’s initiative to strengthen community engagement will be featured at a rescheduled event in Asheville on Tuesday Nov. 27.

The “ReCONNECT to Community: Solving Problems Together for a More Prosperous Future” forum presented by the Emerging Issues Institute of N.C. State University was originally scheduled for Sept. 17 but was postponed because of Hurricane Florence. The rescheduled event includes a presentation by Russ Haddad, ECSU’s director of community and economic engagement, on Nov. 27, followed by a training session for community participants on Nov. 28, also in Asheville.

Seven Elizabeth City residents plan to attend the two-day event: Jamie Koch of the Albemarle Family YMCA; Ginger O’Neal from the Small Business Center at College of The Albemarle; Angie Wills from River City Community Development Corp.; Alissa Woody from the Small Business and Technology Development Center at ECSU; Andrew Harris, chief executive officer of the Northeast Academy of Aerospace and Advanced Technologies; and Joe Peel, a former mayor of Elizabeth City and one of the founders of NEAAAT.

But over the next year there will be additional opportunities to attend training sessions. Four more are planned, with some being held in Raleigh and others that can be viewed through live-streaming at a site in Elizabeth City.

The training will focus on things like civil discourse and constructive discussion. The goal, according to Haddad, is to help the community come together to discuss issues and find solutions to challenges.

The local “virtual” sessions will be available at no cost. The only cost for the sessions in Raleigh will be travel, Haddad said, adding he is looking at carpooling and other ways to curb those costs.

Haddad said the initiative is seeking people who traditionally have not been active in discussions about the future of the community in order to create a wider dialogue.

“What we really want to do is involve people who haven’t felt like they have been a part of the decision-making, so that they feel part of the bigger picture and understand they have a role in the overall wellbeing of the community,” Haddad said.

The Emerging Issues Institute hopes to involve half the counties in the state in the process over a five-year period. Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County benefit from being in on the ground floor, Haddad noted.

“We’re the pilot, the initial cohort for this initiative,” Haddad said.

The Institute for Emerging Issues selected “One Team. One Goal. One Community.” as one of five community initiatives that will be highlighted at the Asheville forum.

To learn more about “One Team. One Goal. One Community.” contact Haddad at rghaddad@ecsu.edu or 335-3731.