Shippensburg University has decided to lease a space in downtown Shippensburg to strengthen its ties with the local community.
The space, located at 29 E. King St., will serve as the home for the Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation and the Center for Land Use and Sustainability (CLUS).
SU President Laurie Carter said upon her arrival at SU, she heard from many people that strengthening ties with the local and regional community was critical and a presence in downtown Shippensburg is one of the ways that the university can support the surrounding community and students.
Carter also said the university is working on several other initiatives and with other partners to strengthen ties with the community.
Megan Silverstrim, SU media relations and social media manager, said the centers are moving downtown to increase the university’s visibility and involvement.
“The decision was made to relocate these two centers, that both have an impact on the community at large to the new downtown location,” she said.
Silverstrim said the move will provide additional opportunities for students.
“This will be an additional opportunity for students to engage with the community, potential future employers, service learning and much more,” Silverstrim said.
There are other initiatives the university is doing to gain more community involvement, according to Silverstrim.
“The university is working with the community on a variety of projects including the new Story Slam Series, which will be sponsored by the [Luhrs Performing Arts Center] moving forward,” she said.
The CLUS is a resource for collaborative research with projects throughout Pennsylvania and the northeast region including West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and New York. The center also provides support for sustainable solutions and professional development, according to the SU website.
“I think CLUS’ relocation is a good idea. It’ll give more of a face and recognition to the center because right now it’s stowed away in Rowland where many students don’t go. Plus, we’ll have more office space,” said Ben Stine, a senior at SU.
According to the SU website, the Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation works to show students that entrepreneurship can be a career choice through student competitions, hosting speakers, entrepreneurship mentors, seminars conferences and more.
TJ Dooley, a senior and president of SU’s chapter of ENACTUS (Entrepreneurship Action Us), said, “I attend the [Charles H. Diller Jr.] center’s events like innovation luncheons, innovation mixers, and 3DS. I feel like they’re a great way to meet local entrepreneurs, hear their stories and network with them.”
Dooley does not think moving the center downtown would be a good idea.
“Students, especially entrepreneurship students, would love to use the center for their class projects, but would have to physically leave campus in order to get there,” Dooley said. “In my opinion, less students would use the center if it was moved downtown.”
The centers will open downtown in spring 2020, according to university officials.