Longwood University Students Help Farmville’s Local Main Street Program Strengthen Fundraising Efforts, Build Community and Promote Downtown

Seeking to develop stronger connections between Farmville’s historic commercial district and anchoring educational institutions, particularly Longwood University (LU), Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP) partnered with students from Dr. Alec Hosterman’s COMM 430 – Public Relations Campaigns class, which is the capstone course for public relations students, to create project-based work plans that help the organization friend-raise and fundraise. On April 26, 2023, LU students presented their detailed proposals to FDP leaders, showcasing how the local Main Street program can more innovatively raise money, build community and promote downtown Farmville!

The class was divided into three teams, each tasked with thoroughly researching and developing their proposal. From concept to implementation, students were highly thoughtful and professional in their planning and presentation. After each team presented their idea(s) and responded to questions from FDP board members, they gave the organization a notebook / binder that outlined how to successfully implement the proposed project, step-by-step.

The three project concepts were:

  • Farmville Bingo – a unique activity to encourage people to visit downtown retailers and win cool prizes;
  • First Friday Sip & Stroll – a lively way to enjoy a casual evening in historic downtown Farmville; and
  • FarmVegas – a special event where people can gather together, play fun games and socialize

As an Advancing Virginia Main Street (AVMS) and Accredited Main Street America program, FDP has defined and aligned as an organization around several strategic focus areas that guide its revitalization work. The partnership between FDP and LU students signifies that the organization is committed to strengthening the linkage between “town and gown” to yield benefits that accrue to both: a thriving commercial district reflects well on the university; improves the quality of life for its core communities of students, faculty and staff; and helps district businesses connect with built-in customer segments. Without doubt, the collaborative project proposals presented by LU students will only help to ensure that the aforementioned benefits are positively felt throughout the community.

Photo Credit: Zachary Whitlow