Chapter 12: Partnerships in a small university town
The issue of partnerships is a recognition of the interrelatedness of contemporary economic activities. It forces us to understand that entities – whether firms, educational institutions, cultural institutions, local governments or the whole array of non-governmental organizations – function best when they can pool their ideas, strengths and aspirations with other organizations. This interrelatedness can be found at all levels of society from the community to international organizations. In this chapter I will explore how this interaction among local actors can have positive consequences in a small university town in Pennsylvania, USA, both for the town and for the participating entities. To begin with I discuss the notion of partnerships. Then I will turn to a brief description of the town I will examine: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The major part of the chapter will consist of an examination of the sorts of interrelationships that have been created in this environment and what this has meant for the participants. While Lewisburg is very specific in its characteristics and therefore cannot offer us universal truths, it is one of scores of small university or college towns in the US, so the conclusions from this case study do have implications that go far beyond the town itself. The system of higher education in the US was created in the seventeenth century by private entities, principally religious organizations.
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