A new center at West Virginia University is working with communities across the region
to address many of West Virginia’s most complex challenges.
The Center for Resilient Communities will cultivate a collaborative network of grassroots
leaders to advance justice, equity and social action in Appalachia around shared
initiatives in fields like agricultural development, health equity, social enterprise,
environmental sustainability and community revitalization.
“We want to elevate the spirit of solidarity among community leaders in our state
and learn from the wisdom of those working tirelessly on the frontlines to create
a brighter future in West Virginia’s communities,” said Bradley Wilson, associate
professor of geography and the center’s founding director.
The center’s first initiative will be the Collaborative Action Lab, a state-wide
program designed to connect scholars and community partners to learn together,
experiment and incubate new solutions to Appalachia’s most systemic challenges,
often called “wicked problems.”
“‘Wicked problems’ are not easy to solve. They are complex, and they underlie and
compound existing problems,” Wilson said. “Rather than turning away from problems
with no easy solutions, we focus on building thoughtful and sustained community
engagement, in-depth collaborative research, and most importantly, cooperation
to create more just and inclusive strategies for change.