The West Virginia University and greater Morgantown “Safe Community initiative has been awarded a Dean’s Community Engagement Award from WVU’s School of Public Health.

The award provides financial support for research, service and educational activities that involve direct collaboration with community agencies, organizations or citizens in West Virginia.

The “Safe Community” initiative will bring WVU and the Morgantown community together to promote a safe and healthy community and will represent the first university-county collaboration in the country.

The initiative-planning group, comprised of WVU faculty, staff, students, community members and city and state representatives, will collect and analyze various data from which strategies will be created to assure a safer and healthier community.

“This award will help tremendously in bringing WVU and the Morgantown community together to work on our common goal of safety and well-being for all,” said Colleen Harshbarger, initiative co-chair and director of WELLWVU’s Office of Wellness and Health Promotion. “We want to assist in making the Morgantown community a safe and healthy environment that students, residents and visitors can enjoy.”

Funding will be used to enable the planning group to assemble, conduct research and market the initiative on and off-campus through social media and other media venues. Students from the WVU’s Communication Studies department will help develop a marketing strategy.

WVU partnered with Morgantown in April to submit a letter of intent to the National Safety Council to become a “Safe Community.”

Anyone interested in joining the “Safe Communities” initiative should contact co-chairs Colleen Harshbarger (, Marti Shamberger ( or Jeff Mikorski (



CONTACT: Colleen Harshbarger, WELLWVU

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