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Groundwork for Vibrant Communities Workshop

Groundwork for Vibrant Communities: Summer 2024

The WVU Center for Resilient Communities invites applications for admission to Groundwork for Vibrant Communities a 3-day intensive project development workshop for community and organizational leaders and scholars to elevate partnership development, project design, team-building, resource development. Drawing upon a unique curriculum focused on teamwork and cycles of action and reflection, we will support new and experienced project coordinators to design more enduring initiatives and build more meaningful partnerships that contribute to vibrant communities. Participants will learn from seasoned organizers, global experts and grassroots leaders, while refining their own project plans, gaining new skills and insights, and joining a network of leaders from across the region.

Application Deadline: April 26th
Admissions Announced: May 10th

Visit our application portal to apply

To be selected for the inaugural workshop in August 2024 participants must complete an online application, be selected by the review committee, and complete all required pre-work. Admissions will be competitive and participants will be selected in three high impact areas of inquiry and action: 

 1) Community Economies and Regional Development, 
 2) Food Systems Transformation, and
 3) Environmental Justice, Climate, Health and Community Wellbeing. 

Visit our website to learn more about our Areas of Inquiry

The RCI encourages applications from people of color, women, LGBTQIA+, folks from low-income and working class backgrounds, and different levels of experience with formal education. 


Who is the workshop designed for?
The workshop is designed for grassroots leaders, organizational staff, and scholars (graduate students / faculty) with an orientation toward fostering community-based participation who are coordinating projects to advance social, environmental and economic transformation and searching for ways to improve project design and outcomes, increase their confidence, build teams, grow their networks, and are willing to get and give constructive feedback. The program totals 32 hrs of engagement and instruction so our intended audience is someone who is committed to personal and professional development.

How much does it cost to attend?
Tuition: The workshop tuition for 2024 has been generously supported by grants from our foundation partners. Thirty applicants selected from our competitive application process will have their tuition waived. The workshop program tuition is $1500 per participant. 

Fees: Fees for participation, including essential materials costs, are $100. Fees are still required for all participants. 

How many people will be selected to attend?
The CRC anticipates selecting 30 project leaders for this year’s workshop. We envision groups of 10 people will be selected in each of our Areas of Inquiry:1) Community Economies and Regional Development, 2) Food systems Transformation, and 3) Environmental Justice, Climate, Health and Community Wellbeing. 

Scholarships to cover fees are available for a select number of applicants with financial need. Please contact Bradley Wilson at brwilson@mail.wvu.du if you wish to request a scholarship.

What is the purpose of the workshop?

The purpose of Groundwork for Vibrant Communities intensive workshop is threefold:

  • Strengthen Project Design, Sustainability and Impact: Improve the conceptualization, design and implementation of team-centered projects and partnerships that foster participation at the community level, attract support to the region, and deliver enduring results.  
  • Deepen Capacity and Retain Talent: Identify and prepare new cohorts of grassroots advocates and researchers leading promising projects and collaborators for ongoing support.  
  • Nourish a Network: Grow a network of project leaders who share a common language, vision and long-term commitments to transformative change in our region.  

Where and when will the workshop be held?
Where: The workshop will be held in the educational facilities of the WVU Center for Resilient Communities in Brooks Hall 309 on the Downtown Campus of WVU Morgantown. 

When: Arrival and registration for the workshop will take place at 12:00 pm Thursday, August 8th and the final session of the workshop will end at 5:00 pm on Saturday, August 10th. 
                    August 8 - 12:00 pm -7:30 pm (dinner provided)
                    August 9 - 8:30 am-5:30 pm (lunch not provided, dinner provided)
                    August 10 - 8:30 am-5:30 pm (lunch not provided)


The CRC recognizes that our participants may be differently abled. Brooks Hall has accessible parking, is wheelchair friendly and includes elevators. Assistance with visibility, audibility and other sensory needs can be provided with notice. The staff of the CRC can provide additional assistance or accommodations upon request with advanced notice.

Housing and Meals
The CRC will not be providing or coordinating breakfast, lunch or housing for the workshop. The CRC will provide dinner on Thursday and Friday evening to promote fellowship. We have tried to minimize the number of nights lodging to Thursday and Friday. We encourage participants to search for hotel or other housing on their own. Morgantown has a range of affordable options. We also encourage participants with specific dietary needs to search in advance for affordable meals for breakfast and lunch. Brooks Hall is located within walking distance to many different kinds of food establishments that can accommodate various dietary needs. The CRC will provide a list of such establishments at registration. The CRC also has a refrigerator, coffee and tea station, and space to store brown bag lunches.

How intensive is intensive?
As they say, what you give is what you get. This is a personal and professional development workshop. Participants are expected to approach the workshop as they would a very important series of workdays where advancing toward goals is crucial to success. Unlike retreats, conferences, summits, or presentation based seminars where information is consumed passively, participants will actually move through exercises individually and in groups while receiving support, encouragement and insight along the way. This does not mean we won’t have fun. Bringing joy to one another and the group will be vital to the atmosphere we create. Imagine the workshop to be much like an artists’ retreat where your personal goal is to finish a sculpture, a painting, or a song. To arrive at the goal we will provide ample time for learning, sharing and just getting the work done that you never have time for otherwise. Our goal is to build confidence and make your everyday work lighter, not create a relaxing weekend where the same stress and anxiety meet us at our workplace upon return.

How much pre-work is required?
Pre-work is essential for a successful workshop. All participants will be required to read and complete exercises from our workshop curricular materials online by July 26th. Materials for the workshop will be made available in mid-May and can be completed at your own pace. You will have 6 weeks to complete the online modules. These materials should not take more than a total of 8 hrs to complete and they will help us all prepare to make the 3 days a truly transformative experience. Participants who do not complete the pre-work modules will not be permitted to participate. The pre-work is light and enjoyable work that asks us to reflect on ourselves and what moves us. We recommend that participants complete a few sections each week rather than jamming it all into the last week before the deadline. Our staff will host regular online gatherings throughout the two months preceding the workshop to provide encouragement, guidance, feedback and foster conversation among those who need support or wish to meet and discuss the content in the modules.

What can we expect on a regular day?

The workshop will include a combination of mini-lectures, group study sessions, individual exercises, and role-play scenarios.  

Day 1

12:00-12:45 - Registration

1:00-1:45 - Welcome

2:00-4:00 - Story Circle

4:15-5:30 - AOI Break Outs

6:00-7:30 - Dinner Lecture

Day 2

8:30-9:00 - Coffee, Conversations and Warm Up

9:10-10:10 - AOI Group Study Session - Constructing A Modest Project 

10:20-11:10 - Individual Exercise Session - Systematizing Action 

11:20-12:30 - Mini-Lecture - Project Design: Frameworks, Cycles and Teams

12:30-2:00 - Lunch on own

2:00-3:00 - AOI Group Session Exercise - Creating a Framework for Action 

3:00-3:40 - Individual Session Exercise - Building a Team

3:50-5:00 - Mixed Group Session - Project Practice, Team Building 

5:00-5:30 - Closing Remarks: Working with Uncertainty

7:15pm - Group Dinner @ Black Bear Burritos

Day 3

8:30-9:00 - Coffee, Conversations and Warm Up

9:00-9:30 - Mini-Lecture - Modest Projects, Ambitious Transformation

9:30-11:00 - AOI Group Study Session - Embedding Projects in a Bigger Picture

11:10-11:50 - Individual Exercise Session - Personal Study Plan

11:30-12:30 - Mini-Lecture - Consultation: Essential In A Posture of Learning

12:30-2:00 - Lunch on own

2:00-3:00 - AOI Group Session Exercise - Partnerships, Resources, Cooperation

3:00-3:40 - Individual Session Exercise - Next Steps: Mapping Opportunities

3:50-5:00 - Mixed Group Session - Reflections on Growth

5:00-5:30 - Closing Remarks: Invitation to Future Workshop Sessions and 1on1s