The Center for Economic & Community Engagement Advisory Board and Virginia Tech Council on Vibrant Virginia held a joint meeting on May 23rd to discuss the future of the Vibrant Virginia program, provide personnel updates, and highlight current projects including the ACE Cluster Coalition, a 75-million dollar submission to the U.S. Economic Development Administration focused on the future of transportation.

Participants also heard from Dwayne Yancey, executive editor of Cardinal News, on the important role media plays for communities.

Center staff shared a video update on the Vibrant Virginia Impact Fund grantees, which can be seen on the Vibrant Virginia webpage.

Associate Director Scott Tate and Director of Foundation Relations Tracy Krauchun talked about the Vibrant Virginia Community Challenge Initiative, a proposal to pinpoint pressing economic challenges within three to five urban, rural, or mixed communities. Next steps include continuing to develop the model and working to find funding support.

CECE also named Margaret Cowell as its first center fellow. “Not only does Maggie have a deep understanding of what we do and a great record of scholarship engagement, she has also agreed to work with us on figuring out what a sustainable Center Fellows program should look like,” John Provo, director of the center said.

Cowell has worked with the center for the past 11 years, collaborating on funding proposals and applied research studio classes. She also co-edited Vibrant Virginia: Engaging the Commonwealth to Expand Economic Vitality with Sarah Lyon-Hill, the center’s associate director for research development.

 “I think of the individuals at CECE as my number 1 go-to collaborators. I consider my work with the center to be an immense privilege but also essential to my progress here as a scholar here at Virginia Tech,” Cowell said.