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University’s vision, hope for college town begins to stir interest

By Adam Fenwick
Around The Campus Editor Electronic News Editor

University officials and members of the Pembroke community have created a town gown committee whose goal is to help the community evolve into more of a college town.              

Recently, the committee, chaired by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs  Dr. Diane Jones, visited other universities to see what the difference is between their communities and Pembroke.

In an effort to learn more about college towns, commitee members went to Longwood University, Farmville, Va.; Presbyterian University,  Clinton, S.C.; and Newberry College, Newberry, S.C.

What they found            

“What we found was that there are business downtown that cater directly to college students,” Dr. Jones said.

She said she believes we have that same collaboration here between UNCP and Pembroke.             

Dr. Jones said she hopes  the university doesn’t lose its momentum from recent growth and the town and the university are ready for a motel.

“With a motel, that will bring the upscale restaurants we want,” Dr. Jones said.             

Director of the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs Robert Canida is also a member of the committee.

He traveled to Farmville, Va., where he saw first hand the relationship between the town and the university.            

By being there you could see the camaraderie between the two, he said.

Canida said Pembroke is already a college town “to some degree” but believes that more communication is needed between the university and the town.

College town makeup            

Dr. Blake Gumprecht is a geography professor at the University of New Hampshire who writes about college towns and their makeup.

He said he believes that Pembroke is simply lagging behind because of its rapid growth in the last 20 years.            

“There’s always a bit of a lag, I think, in how a town is transformed to reflect those changes,” he said.                

“There was more time to adjust to the changes that were taking place.

“You’re in the midst of a lot of growth,” said Gumprecht.             

The first project the town gown committee has been working on  is a park    at the southeast corner of campus.

So far, the committee has raised $150,000 of the $300,000 goal.             

Dr. Jones said that the park should be a gateway between the town and the university, a place for both to use.

Lesley Covington and Lisa Tyndall contributed to this article.

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Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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