ARC Hosts 130 Appalachian College and University Students at Community Research Symposium 

Beginning today, students from 13 colleges and universities in 10 Appalachian states will share capstone research at the 23rd annual Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative symposium.

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 1, 2023—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is hosting 130 students from 13 Appalachian colleges and universities for the 23rd annual Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative (ACRI) symposium at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View in Arlington, Virginia, today, Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, 2023.

Supported by ARC and organized by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), participating schools offer a for-credit seminar during the fall semester to help students develop and execute field-based research projects that address the unique economic development needs of their communities and align with ARC’s investment priorities.

As a capstone, students will present their work to other student delegations from participating institutions, ARC leadership, and community leaders in a formal peer-to-peer conference setting hosted by ARC and the Consortium of Appalachian Colleges and Universities.

“Appalachia’s young leaders play an integral role in our region’s future success through their hard work, optimism, and willingness to collaborate,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “I’m impressed by the forward-thinking young leaders who participated in this year’s Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative and am excited to see the ways they will continue to positively impact their own futures and economic development throughout Appalachia’s 13 states.”

Student delegations from the following schools participating in this year’s ACRI Symposium include: 

Alfred State College, Alfred, NY 

Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 

Auburn University, Auburn, AL 

East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 

Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD 

Glenville State University, Glenville, WV 

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 

Morehead State University, Morehead, KY 

Muskingum University, New Concord, OH 

Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA 

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 

“It’s always encouraging when our students offer ideas and strategies to build a brighter future for Eastern Kentucky and for the entire Appalachian region,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “As Governor of Kentucky, my top priority is leaving things better for all our children. When our young people show their shared commitment to the future of our region, I am reaffirmed in my belief that Appalachia’s brightest days are still ahead.” 

Since 2001, nearly 3,000 college and graduate students from 31 colleges and universities across Appalachia have participated in the Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative. Many have gone on to careers in economic and community development across the region, applying what they learned in ACRI to strengthen the region.

ACRI is one of ARC’s four academies and institutes, offering experiential learning opportunities where participants build collaborative networks, hone skills, and foster an enduring commitment to Appalachia’s future. 

About the Appalachian Regional Commission  
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 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.