West Virginia University students are using skills learned in the classroom to help improve Fairmont’s economy.

Six public relations seniors in the P.I. Reed School of Journalism have teamed up with the Fairmont City Planner and Mainstreet Fairmont to create a Buy Local campaign for the city. The project aims to increase awareness about the benefits of shopping closer to home. Buying locally helps to keep local businesses thriving while also keeping more revenue in Fairmont.

“The heart of our city is in our downtown area,” said Kathy Wyrosdick, Fairmont’s city planner. “We want to think about putting ‘Fairmont First’ as our main goal.”
Wyrosdick believes that both the general community and Fairmont State University students will support the efforts of the campaign.

“We really want to focus on student involvement,” said Wyrosdick. “They want other places to hang out with their friends socially, so we’re hoping to increase awareness of what our downtown has to offer.”

In addition to supporting local businesses, the WVU public relations students will also benefit from the campaign.

“This important project allows the students the opportunity to gain real-world experience while improving a community and boosting a town’s economy,” said Dr. Rita Colistra a School of Journalism assistant professor and instructor of the public relations campaigns course. “The campaign will let the students get a taste of what they will be experiencing in their profession once they graduate in May.”

The project is made possible by a $5,000 Campus-Community LINK grant through the West Virginia Campus Compact and the WVU Center for Civic Engagement. The grant was obtained by both Colistra and Wyrosdick.

The grant allows Colistra’s Buy Local Fairmont public relations team to travel to Fairmont for interviews, to conduct research and to create promotional materials to increase the community’s and the students’ awareness about the importance of buying local.



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CONTACT: Bridget Feeney, project PR director
(201) 543-1725; bfeeney@mix.wvu.edu