Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Frostburg State University: Sustaining Campus and Community

(2012 - 2014) Frostburg State University’s “Sustaining Campus and Community” dialogue series began its second year in the spring of 2012. The goal of these sessions it to help the community of Frostburg, Maryland strengthen neighborhood relationships and foster a nonviolent, civil culture. The dialogue sessions convene students, year-round residents, local officials, and University leaders to discuss issues and create new opportunities for collaborative problem-solving and coalition-building in Frostburg. Dr. Frank Dukes of the IEN, Dr. Marvin Johnson, founder and executive director of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and project manager Dr. Elesha L. Ruminski, chair of FSU’s Department of Communication Studies, facilitate the sessions to help create tangible solutions for deeper-level, sensitive, and structurally challenging town-gown tensions that affect safe, secure living conditions and civil relationships between long-term and short-term residents in the college town. To date, the project has achieved several notable outcomes that demonstrate the success of the dialogue sessions. Community partner Mountainside Community Mediation Center (MCMC) has offered outreach and mediation training to community members. A documentary video highlighting the community building efforts is being produced by the Department of Mass Communication at Florida State University, the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), and Frostburg State. Finally, a website through Frostburg State University’s Department of Communication Studies has been created to provide information and post progress related to the project.