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On the road with purpose

Seventeen people stand in a line along a gravel road and in front of trees under blue skies.
Faculty members heard from state Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw (on the right) and worked on a service project at Community Care of Big Otter during a stop for the Country Roads Scholars Tour in Clay County in June 16, 2022. (Submitted Photo)

The Country Roads Scholars Tour, an annual Mountain State outreach trip from the Provost’s Office and WVU Extension, is back out this summer, making stops in Kanawha County and Clay County.

“The faculty and leaders on the trip came to listen, be inspired and to identify ways the University can partner with people in these communities to address challenges they face — from food scarcity to opioid addiction — and come up with creative solutions together that give hope, create opportunity and make a difference,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said. 

“We are all part of the larger West Virginia family, and we want to be partners in charting its successful future,” Reed said. “We also learn so much about our state’s beauty, history and traditions and see firsthand WVU’s land-grant mission in action.” 

Faculty and staff members from several colleges and schools along with Amaya Jernigan, outgoing Student Government Association president, joined Reed for the trip on June 15-16. 

Also in the group were Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Meshea L. Poore, Esq., Dean of Extension and Engagement Jorge Atiles, College of Applied Human Sciences Founding Dean Autumn Cyprès, College of Law Dean Amelia Rinehart and Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Dean Darrell Donahue. 

In Kanawha County, the delegation toured the State Capitol Complex, including the Culture Center and State Museum before a bus trip to Charleston’s West Side.  Presenters to the group  included Governor Jim Justice, Secretary of Tourism Chelsea Ruby and Commissioner of Arts, Culture and History Randall Reid-Smith.   

In Clay County, those in the WVU group participated in community service projects at Risen Lord Food Pantry in Maysel and at Community Care of Big Otter in Ivydale. They also took a bus and walking tour of Clay and met with state Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw. 

“The Country Roads Scholars Tour offers the opportunity to connect with WVU colleagues, to learn from each other and identify partnership opportunities between WVU Extension and our on-and off-campus programs,” Atiles said. 

“It’s also a tremendous opportunity for us (the greater university) to learn more about the communities we serve and provide them with resources that improve the lives and livelihoods of our fellow West Virginians,” Atiles added. 

Future dates for the Country Roads Scholars Tour are in the works.