The Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative (ACRI) dates back to 1999 when academic
centers at Appalachian colleges and universities and the Appalachian Regional Commission
(ARC) came together to discuss common concerns. In that year, the ARC hosted a symposium
on Appalachian Research in Washington, D.C., emphasizing the need for Appalachian
academic centers and the ARC to work together more closely in service to the Appalachian
region. Since that first meeting, the ACRI has grown to include up to 16 institutions
of higher learning each year, from throughout Appalachia.
Undergraduate and graduate students in the participating colleges and universities engage in field research related to the question, "How do we build a sustainable future for Appalachian communities?" Each campus approaches the question uniquely, but all work toward common goals and activities. Over the years, 31 colleges and universities from 12 Appalachian states have participated in the program at least once.
- Students will strengthen leadership skills and awareness of community assets that can foster sustainability.
- Students will be engaged as active learners and participants in community projects.
- Students will engage in traditional and active research to assist communities in creative approaches to sustainability through asset-based development.
Required Student Activities
- Presentation of research at a conference in Washington, D.C.
- Creation of a poster for presentation at the conference in Washington, D.C.
- In addition, students must participate in at least two of the following options:
- Presentation of research to at least one civic organization or to elected officials within the community.
- Presentation of research at a national conference.
- Participation in a poster session or panel discussion, or delivery of a formal paper at the Appalachian Studies Association's Annual Conference in March.
- Strengthened partnerships among the ARC, colleges and universities, and communities.
- Informed research into Appalachian issues and concerns.
- Unique community-based perspectives and solutions to problems.
- Stronger leadership skills in students.
- Specialized knowledge that provides a platform for action and encourages communities to build on inherent assets for long-term economic competitiveness.
- Greater awareness of goals of the ARC strategic plan.
The ACRI is funded in part with ARC grant funds and in part with in-kind contributions made by each participating institution.
Photo courtesy of Ben Bateson