BY MORGAN HAAS, PROGRAM COORDINATOR, WVU DAVIS COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND DESIGN
The work of community entrepreneurship and democracy often encompasses the work of matchmaking. This was the goal of the newly launched Fulcrum Project, a collaboration between the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design and The Hub, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. This project began last fall to develop partnerships with current and former Hub communities and assist with design projects throughout West Virginia.Working in communities requires building deep and mutually beneficial relationships to leverage individual strengths for a common good. The Fulcrum Project played the connector role in an existing web of community projects throughout West Virginia.
The Fulcrum Project continued the process for communities that had already identified projects through previously facilitated capacity-building activities with The Hub, but community members may not have had certain skills, resources, or time to complete the projects. The program matched communities with a faculty member and student team to complete design work with input from community members. This allowed residents the opportunity to tap into the expertise of faculty and energy of students by developing projects around local food, horticulture, landscape architecture, land reclamation, forestry, wetlands, tourism planning, entrepreneurship, water quality, interior design, and many other subject areas.