Joined at the hip

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Farmville Mayor David Whitus’ convocation address at Longwood University last week was another symbol of improved relations between two institutions whose fates are forever intertwined.

For too many years, Farmville and Longwood simply tolerated each other. Gradually, leaders in both institutions have awakened to the mutual benefits of cooperation. Whitus, as a Longwood alumnus and the town’s top elected official, has worked especially hard to build bridges, and Longwood was wise to choose him for the high-profile assignment of convocation speaker.

The fact is that Farmville would be a shadow of its current self without a prospering 5,000-student university smack in its core and a smaller private institution, Hampden-Sydney, just a few miles away. For all of the minor inconveniences that college students pose for locals, it’s hard to fathom a Farmville without them shopping in our stores and eating in our restaurants.

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Likewise, Longwood is strengthened by a progressive, thriving town that offers a good quality of life for students and faculty members alike. A dead Farmville would make recruitment difficult, if not impossible, for university leaders.

With the proliferation of off-campus housing in recent years, Longwood students increasingly rely on the Farmville Police Department to keep them safe. New Police Chief Curtis Davis has been proactive with campus and community outreach programs such as Help Save The Next Girl, an awareness program founded in honor of Morgan Dana Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who was abducted and killed in 2009, and designed to keep college girls alert to the danger of predators. 

The point is that town and university contribute vastly to each other’s success. Here’s hoping the cooperative spirit of recent years prevails for generations to come.

STEVE STEWART is publisher of The Farmville Herald. His email address is