2022 National Award for Community Engagement


It started with a simple question: “How does the University of Georgia improve our capacity to respond to Georgia’s community and economic development needs?”

The answer that emerged is what we now know as the Archway Partnership, a unit of Public Service and Outreach created to enhance the University of Georgia’s land-grant mission of teaching, research, and service while addressing self-identified community issues across the State of Georgia.

The Archway Partnership empowers communities to address long-standing and critical community and economic development needs. Archway Partnership communities have addressed issues related to economic development, education, workforce development, leadership, health and welfare, overall quality of life, and more.

The core function of Archway is to bring together local leaders who prioritize local needs and identify projects that benefit the community. Projects are not decided by UGA but are determined by members of a local, community-based Executive Committee with help from other members of the community who attend listening sessions or participate in various Work Groups. Archway then acts as a connection point between communities and students and faculty to work on selected projects.

While each community is different, the Archway Partnership Executive Committees typically include representatives from local city and county governments, development authorities, chambers of commerce, local school systems, healthcare providers, utilities, business and industry, media, community organizations and non-profits, among others.

Since 2005, the Archway Partnership has served 13 Georgia communities. Collaborative, community-based projects have utilized resources from each of the eight University of Georgia Public Service and Outreach units, including the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, and Small Business Development Center, and faculty and students from all 17 University of Georgia Colleges and Schools. The Archway Partnership has also connected communities with 14 of the 26 University System of Georgia institutions, 13 of the 22 technical colleges, and four private universities. Since 2005, Archway has funded 147 graduate assistantships and connected more than 1,200 students to Georgia communities! Additionally, hundreds of community leaders have participated in Archway projects. There are 168 projects that have been completed in just the last year.

Not only do individual communities get the full suite of resources from the University of Georgia, but Archway communities are part of a family of communities that learn, network and work with each other to improve quality of life for everyone.

Why is it called the Archway Partnership?

Located at the northern edge of the University of Georgia’s North Campus, the Arch is a cast-iron representation of the Seal of the State of Georgia and contains three pillars representing the state motto of Georgia – Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation. The Arch is considered to be the gateway between the University of Georgia and the city of Athens and beyond.

The Arch is also the readily recognized symbol of the University of Georgia’s three-part mission of teaching, research, and public service excellence. Just as the Arch represents the connection between the university and the world, the Archway Partnership represents the connection between University of Georgia resources and the needs of Georgia communities.