A student organization at West Virginia University aimed at rejuvenating small towns throughout the state is on a quest for new members.

West Virginia Economic Policy Initiative, or WVEPI , works with small towns to develop and maintain community development strategies. The goal of the group is to enhance cultural, economic and civic opportunities in towns with a population under 5,000, co-founder Jonathon Young said.

Locations are selected by group members according to the communitys willingness to accept WVEPI s proposals. The group partners with government leaders and members of civic organizations.

The organization was started in 2004, but was re-established this spring by Young, Grace Adams-Square and Amy Burger, graduate students in WVU s Department of Political Science. The faculty adviser is Susan Hunter, associate professor of political science.

West Virginias small communities hold much more potential than they are given credit for, and I believe this organization can make that potential a reality,said Young, who hails from Clendenin, a town with slightly over 1,000 residents.

WVEPI yields great professional experience, he added, and membership is open to all students. Upperclassmen and graduate students with expertise in government or economics are especially encouraged to join.

Meetings are currently held in Room 306E in Woodburn Hall, but will soon be moved to the Mountainlair.

For more information, contact Young at 304-293-5805 or Jonathan.Young@mail.wvu.edu .