Town and Gown in Glenville

“Town and Gown” in Glenville

The relationship between the town (Glenville), and gown (GSC) has been a difficult journey since the inception of the college.  For years the two institutions lived in virtual isolation from each other.  The college and students remained detached from the community around them, and the town of Glenville did little to encourage interaction between students and local businesses.

Today, both academic and local government leaders have been implementing a more cooperative approach.  College administrators were finding that the surrounding town could be either a draw or a hindrance to recruiting students.  Town and county leaders began to realize that colleges were becoming an ever more valuable economic and community asset.

GSC and the town of Glenville are not any different than other college towns in this respect.  Dr. Peter Barr, president of GSC, has made this clear during his tenure at this small town college.  He realizes that without a quality “place”, Glenville State will struggle to attract students.

The students, faculty, and organizations have done a lot to put forward this spirit of communal cooperation between the town and college.  GSC athletes have cleaned up trash and debris at the golf course and painted local residences, while Dr. Michael Gherke, of the GSC history department recently spoke with the local historical society.  The Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild also contributed at that facility, helping to keep things up and running smoothly.  Soon, in October, the college is hosting a Halloween carnival in Glenville.  There will be many students and organizations contributing with booths and games that are sure to be great enjoyment to the local children.  Last year, the college had over one hundred participants in the costume and car show, and raised over $1,500 for local charities.  “This is a family event that we hold not only to benefit and raise money for the Salvation Army and Our Neighbor,” states Jodi Ocheltree, director of student activities, “But is also a way for our business to provide a family event for our community”.

The town has reciprocated by building a central park and increasing off campus housing. More businesses, from Self Suds to Java City, have moved onto Main Street to accommodate the pedestrian college student.  In addition, many local residents, who are graduates from Glenville State College are now working at various positions, adding to the friendliness of the campus.

While this has been a great improvement over past relations, there is still more that the town and college can work towards for the betterment of the community and the campus life.  Sidewalks along outlying streets would make the town and campus more intertwined, and safer for the community as a whole.

No matter the difference between the town of Glenville and GSC, we can work together to make this town and college a great place to live and learn.

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