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Rindge/Franklin Pierce Town Gown Team Makes Presentation at Statewide Conference

November 20, 2012

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The Rindge/Franklin Pierce University Town Gown Team presented at the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s 71st Annual Conference on November 15 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. The title of their session was “From Lawsuits to Collaborators: A Town and Gown Success Story.” Session panelists included Dr. James Birge, President of Franklin Pierce; Lee Bruder, Town Gown facilitator; Rick Donovan, Director of Public & Life Safety for the Town of Rindge; Jim Earle, Vice President of Students Affairs at Franklin Pierce; Matt Henry, Director of Planning for the Town of Rindge; and Carlotta Pini, Town Administrator for the Town of Rindge. Lisa Murray, Director of University Relations at Franklin Pierce, served as moderator.

A few short years ago, relations between the University and the Town were strained at best. There has been a remarkable turnaround, due to the commitment of the Town Gown Team, facilitated by Lee Bruder, an organization development consultant. The Town Gown Team found that making a commitment to ongoing efforts and hard work can create healing and transformation – as with many relationships – and that is what has happened between the Town and the University. The conference session was an opportunity for the Town Gown Team to share the lessons they learned, and the tools they used to come to a better place, with others who could benefit from their efforts.

The improved Town Gown relationship was evidenced last week at the University’s 50th Anniversary Founder’s Day celebration, where Rindge selectmen Jed Brummer and Roberta Oeser presented the University with a 3-foot-tall Anniversary card signed by dozens of townspeople. A strong relationship of trust between the Town of Rindge’s Fire Department and the University’s student volunteer fire company, which operates under it, was represented back in September, when a fire truck was brought to Franklin Pierce to be permanently housed on their campus. The Rindge Fire Department and the student volunteers work together on calls both on and off campus; this collaborative alliance has been carefully built over the past few years, with Rick Donovan taking a lead role in its development.

The Rindge Historical Society provides another example of the strengthened Town Gown relationship; it has dedicated one of its rooms to feature Franklin Pierce’s 50th Anniversary. The exhibit showcases various artifacts and memorabilia from Franklin Pierce’s history. The Historical Society worked with members of the Franklin Pierce community as a source for research materials and as a genealogical reference. The exhibit is open every Wednesday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and every first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Conference panelists from the Town Gown Team offered New Hampshire Local Government Center session attendees honest reflections of the components that had contributed to their shared difficulties, and of the insights they gained through working toward a more constructive relationship. A Town Gown Team Charter template was distributed for organizations to use as a starting point, which can be modified to suit particular needs. A question and answer period followed the presentation, including input from Franklin Pierce student, Nick Thistle, who has been serving as a student representative on the Town Gown Team. Anyone interested in learning more about the conference presentation may contact Lisa Murray at (603) 899-4221.




                 An education that matters.

Franklin Pierce University is a regionally accredited university grounded in the liberal arts, with a focus on personal attention and high-quality instruction. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations in Arizona and throughout New Hampshire. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. The institutional mission embraces an education that matters: one that achieves academic success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. Our community of educators and learners creates an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages experiential and applied learning. A Franklin Pierce experience enables each student to discover and fulfill his or her own unique potential. We prepare students to become confident, knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscience.

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