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January 21, 2014

Communiversity on stand by

MILLEDGEVILLE —

The former Shaw Building patiently awaits an exciting communiversity rebirth.

While the final lease-purchase contract hasn't received City of Milledgeville signatures to move forward, leadership behind the conceptual community-based public-private partnership encouraging learning, entrepreneurism and economic development are hard at work.

Georgia College Associate Professor of Marketing Dr. Renée J. Fontenot said organizational action began months ago. 

“We've been sitting on the edge of our seats with baited anticipation,” Fontenot said. “In working towards that, we have a number of things in place. We are ready to go.”

The board is developing by-laws and most notably, changing the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Communiversity name for branding purposes.

“It's a mouthful and the acronym gets confusing because there are so many other Milledgeville-Baldwin type of groups,” Fontenot said. 

Going forward the project will be known as Summit Communiversity.

“Once we formerly sign the papers with the city, we will begin rebranding everything,” the communiversity board member said.

The National Association of Communiversities (NAC) officially launched Sept. 25, 2013 at Featherbone Communiversity of Gainesville, Ga., according to Gus Whalen, representing the Warren Featherbone Foundation.

The NAC is an affiliation of communiversities that operate independently but have formalized collaborative Declarations of Interdependence. Milledgeville's Summit Communiversity signed on with four others.

Co-founders of the association are Featherbone, Bonner County Communiversity of Sandpoint, Idaho, Chaffey College of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. and Community Futures Boundary, Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada. 

This was good news for the future of a local educational and innovation center. Members share ideas and as a whole can grab more grant funds.

Joining the association is conceptual early planning, according to Fontenot. 

Gainesville's Featherbone Communiversity is the Milledgeville blueprint.

The communiversity board has been working with the NAC “quite closely” since last fall. Fontenot said the NAC looks to add collaborative members.

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