150 Appalachian College Students Convene in Washington, D.C. to Present Ideas for Appalachia’s Future

Annual Symposium Hosted by Appalachian Regional Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 6, 2019—On December 6-7, 2019, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will host 150 students from 15 Appalachian-based colleges and universities at the 19th annual Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) Symposium in Washington, D.C. The symposium’s primary framing question is “how do we build on community assets to shape a positive future for Appalachia?”

To prepare for the ATP Symposium, student delegations are enrolled in a for-credit academic course to design and lead research projects in Appalachian communities to address regional challenges. Each ATP project focuses on one of five themes: outdoor recreation & tourism development; workforce barriers, community health and the opioid crisis; community development through cultural heritage and the arts; community planning and asset development; and Appalachian waterways and parks. As a capstone for the coursework, students and their faculty sponsors travel to Washington, D.C. to present their work to other student delegations, ARC leadership, and community leaders at the Symposium.

“I am very proud of the 150 students in Washington DC this week to continue their important coursework on building a better future for their communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “These students are engaged in work that benefits an entire region, and I am looking forward to their presentations. I also want to recognize the important work the 15 institutions represented this week, representing a full spectrum of higher learning institutions in our region, do year in and year out for thousands of students across our region.”

Student delegations from 15 schools in 11 Appalachian states to be featured at the 2019 ATP Symposium include:

  • Alfred State College, Alfred, New York
  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
  • East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
  • Fairmont State University, Fairmont, West Virginia
  • Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
  • Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Cumberland, Kentucky
  • Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky
  • University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, Georgia,
  • University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Bradford, Pennsylvania
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Young Harris College, Young Harris, Georgia

Summaries of each research project are available at www.arc.gov/atp.

Since 2001, over 2,350 college and graduate students from across Appalachia have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project. A recent survey of past participants found that 65 percent of ATP alumni still live in the Appalachian region and credit their participation in the ATP as either moderately or highly influencing their decision to stay. Over 85 percent of ATP alumni are employed, and report that ATP had a lasting impact on their career.

ATP is supported by ARC and organized by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University (ETSU).

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.