On February 11th-13th the Vibrant Virginia team headed to Newport News to host a Community Conversation in the region. Vibrant Virginia engages and supports university faculty in exploring community and economic development in urban and rural Virginia.

The goal of these Vibrant Virginia Community Conversations is to allow participants brainstorm ways to bolster current partnerships and projects between the community and the university and to discuss new ideas to approach communities’ challenges.

This conversation provided Virginia Tech faculty and stakeholders with an opportunity to share learnings from their experiences with current and prior economic and community development activities. The team listened to community members, faculty, and local government discuss issues surrounding aquaculture, agriculture, coastal policy, manufacturing, and STEM in the region and ways faculty can engage to help utilize resources to dive deep into these topics.

The university has a breadth of faculty, staff, and students already working on innovations for these industries. This conversation provided an opportunity for engaged faculty to listen to the needs and opportunities specific to Eastern Virginia. Inherent to the Land-Grant mission, the institution must remain adaptive, responsive, and proactive to the changing economic, community, and workforce development environment and Vibrant Virginia Community Conversations are a key way to accomplish this mission.

The team will be hosting conversations in Southside and Northern Virginia later in the year.