BG, BGSU to host Ohio Town & Gown Summit

From BG CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University were chosen to be the hosts of the Third Annual Ohio Town and Gown Summit this summer.  The summit is scheduled for Wednesday, July 18 through Friday, July 20, at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union on the campus of Bowling Green State University.  The summit provides an opportunity for networking and learning more about successful strategies and best practices for universities and their host communities to work together to create a cohesive and thriving community. Discussions and presentations will be designed to strengthen the relationships between Ohio higher education institutions and their respective municipalities, along with focusing on the unique opportunities and challenges that have been minimized with specific approaches.  

Bowling Green Mayor Richard A. Edwards and BGSU President Rodney Rogers will provide the welcoming to the approximately 250 attendees anticipated.  BGSU President Emeritus Mary Ellen Mazey will be the keynote speaker during lunch on Thursday, July 19, which will focus on Bowling Green’s relationship from a comprehensive, community-wide visioning process to implementation and how the relationship has strengthened through the visioning process.  Bowling Green and BGSU have much to be proud of and to celebrate with the wide-ranging partnerships that have been created to best serve both the interests of the university, city and their constituents. The summit will also offer the opportunity to reflect on the progression of partnerships and brainstorm ways to further collaborate.    

A broad variety of attendees will likely include elected officials, city planners, safety officials, city administrators, community ambassadors, higher education professionals, college students and downtown, chamber and visitor organizations to discuss important topics and opportunities related to community and university relations.  

Committees comprised of city, community, and higher education officials have been meeting to coordinate the logistics of this large event and to develop programming that will be informative, meaningful, and include presenters from across the state of Ohio. There will also be opportunities for the attendees to tour the campus and community to highlight the many exciting and unique features of both the campus and community.  The planning committee is working on special programming to bring attendees to local businesses and attractions, especially to the beautiful historic downtown Bowling Green. The group will be invited to attend the next Best Hometown Celebration that will be hosted at the Simpson Building & Park on Thursday, July 19 from 4:30-6:30 pm.  

The idea for the Town and Gown Summit originated when representatives from Ohio attended the 2015 International Town and Gown Association (ITGA) conference at George Washington University and returned with the notion to initiate a similar event in Ohio to network and share aspects of common statewide issues.   The first summit was held at the Ohio University’s Pickerington Center in July of 2016 and exceeded the goal of attendance, thus proving the event’s interest across the state. The second event, also very successful, was held last summer at Miami University in Oxford.

The ITGA is an organization that strives to strengthen town/gown partnerships by providing a network of professionals and resources, identifying and sharing promising practices, innovative solutions and professional development opportunities for municipal and university communities.  The formation of the ITGA took place more than a decade ago through a series of meetings and events in which municipal and academic leaders recognized the need for unification. Eight founding members joined forces to construct and nature this organization, creating a vehicle for leaders to meet, network, explore and grow.  It was formally organized in 2008 as a nonprofit organization, thanks to the vision of a former Mayor of City of Clemson and Clemson University. The City and BGSU are joint members of the ITGA and attend and present at annual conferences.

To register and for session details for the summit please visit the website at www.ohiotowngown.com.  Early bird Deadline to register is July 1.  If you have any questions about the summit or wish to be involved in any way please contact Wendy Chambers at wendychambers@visitbgohio.org or 419-353-9445.  

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