Burke County is the University of Georgia’s newest Archway Partnership community, making it the 14th county across Georgia to participate in the unique community development initiative.
“Our entire Archway team is excited to begin work with Burke County. We look forward to partnering with community members to address economic and community development opportunities,” said Archway Partnership Executive Director Michelle Elliott. “Through the presence of a community-based UGA faculty member, Archway will provide a direct connection to all the world-class resources UGA has to offer.”
Founded in 2005, the Archway Partnership is a unit of the Public Service and Outreach office at UGA and builds on UGA’s land-grant mission – in fact based on the Extension model – by taking a grassroots approach to address community and economic development needs, as identified by that community.
“The UGA Archway Partnership is an opportunity for our community to come together and work on opportunities for our county. UGA Archway brings a wealth of knowledge and resources to us and this is an exciting time for our community. We cannot wait to get started!,” said Suzanne Sharkey, Georgia Power manager in Burke County and the driving force behind the community joining Archway.
In the Archway Partnership, the community drives the priority-need process through an executive committee made up of local citizens and community leaders. An Archway professional, based in that community, identifies and connects to potential resources at UGA, as well as other institutions, that can be utilized to address those needs. Archway frequently works on projects including economic or workforce development, community health and wellness, and quality of life issues. The collaboration is jointly funded between the University of Georgia, the City of Waynesboro, Burke County Board of Commissioners, Burke County Board of Education, Burke County Development Authority, Burke County Chamber of Commerce, and Augusta Technical College.
Since the program began in 2005, more than 1,300 UGA students and more than 200 UGA faculty members have engaged in an Archway Partnership project. Archway has connected communities to faculty and students from all 17 UGA schools and colleges – from the College of Engineering to the College of Environment and Design. Archway can also help bring in other institutions from the University System of Georgia, working with 14 out of the 26 institutions over the years; it has also partnered with 13 of the 22 technical colleges and four private universities.
As the Burke County Archway Partnership becomes established, residents will have opportunities to participate in listening sessions and town hall meetings during which the community’s most critical needs will be identified. Community involvement is also critical for the completion of projects and more than 1,000 community members have been involved so far. The listening sessions for Burke County will be on August 26, 2021 – stay tuned for more information and opportunities to participate!