Friday, March 28, 2014

Frostburg and the Relationship with the Community

Frostburg and the Relationship with the Community
By Jordan Smith
Frostburg, Md. -The Frostburg community, including students, faculty, land lords, and local business owners, gathered Thursday night in the Lyric Theater on Main Street. This was one of many, Frostburg Community Dialogues, titled “Building the ‘Burg.” This dialogue was intended to bring people from the community together to discuss ways to build a relationship between the students and the surrounding area. On top of that, it was to encourage them to say after graduation and become part of the community.
The dialogue was led by Dr. Elesha L. Ruminski, chair of FSU’s Department of Communication Studies, and included many guest speakers from the Frostburg community. The night started off with a small introduction from everyone around the room. Each person was to say their name and how they try to sustain their relationship with the community. With many different individuals, with very different backgrounds, everyone had some sort of passionate connection with Frostburg. Some were from the other side of the country and world, but something about Frostburg brought them back to the area.
The first speaker was Daniel Witter, FSU alumni and assistant Main Street manager. Mr. Witter was very passionate about the community and its relationship with the future alumni of Frostburg. As an alumni, as well as a member of Frostburg’s community, he described his accounts of witnessing the separation throughout the community. He went into detail on how vital it was for the community to connect to the students, so that it becomes more of a college town, not just a historic place. With his role as the as assistant Main Street manger, he feels that there should be more shops that appeal to the students. This would not only spark an interest for students to stay in Frostburg, but it would also create more job opportunities.
The second speaker for the night was Sebastian Goldstein, Former FSU student and owner of Absalom’s Emporium on Main Street. Goldstein being a former student, as well a local business owner, he saw the opportunity to market to the students of Frostburg. When he saw that there was a lack of things to do for students, he jumped on the opportunity to start his own business. “I saw the gap between the town and the grown, and I hopped on the opportunity to create a place for the community to come together.” Absalom’s Emporium is a Hookah Bar, which is open to students and the public, as place to relax and enjoy fine flavored tobacco. Even if this does not appeal to all students, it is creating opportunities for more businesses like his to be created.
Coty Warn, a FSU alumni and owner of Mount city Center for the Arts, was the third speaker for the night. Growing up in Western Maryland, she has always had a passion for keeping up with the community. After graduation, she moved all around the United States, including New York, Pittsburg, and Los Angeles. Even with all the exposure of traveling, there was still something about Frostburg, which brought her back to Western Maryland. As a dance instructor and professor, she is very in tune with students and the community. She is also very passionate about bringing the students and community together. Warn noted “There must be some connection that we can make to break this gap, and have the school and the community come together.”
The Final speaker for the night was Corey Armstrong, project manager for Frostburg Grows. The Frostburg Grows project is more about sustaining the resources, while providing opportunities to the community.  Their project site is located on a five acre piece of land that has been stripped and deep mined. Their goal is to use natural resources to produce food for the community, trees for replantation, and the education of the issues and solutions here in Frostburg. “We are creating a valuable experience for students and the community. We want them to not only take the information they learned and use it here, but also to apply it somewhere else.”

In conclusion, it was a very successful night. Many issues, solutions, ideas, and concerns were brought up during the dialogue. Everyone there was involved and was very optimistic about the idea of connecting the community. It may be something that will take an extensive amount of time, but in the end, it will bring the community of Frostburg closer than ever.

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