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GU SMART: A Smart Change to Our Community

Published: January 18, 2019

Author: Sidney Webster

You may have heard of Greenville University's SMART program, but did you know about the significant changes taking place that will impact the entire community?

We wish business in the city of Greenville, IL to be booming! To make this wish become a reality, the community of Greenville has joined forces with the university in a program called Greenville SMART. The vision of the town is to keep commerce alive in our area, and GU's mission is to impact the world outside of our campus boundaries while reaching academic learning goals. The mission statement declares, "The mission of the Greenville SMART initiative is to unify the resources and connections of the University, local community, and regional businesses to cultivate economic development, educational opportunities, and connection for an entire town and surrounding region." The connection between the university and the Greenville community at large has been excelling, but with the upcoming opportunities for growth, both parties are on the road to an even more strong relationship that could have the power to impact many people.

There is a 10,800 square foot gem located on 2nd street in downtown Greenville that will soon be the updated official territory of Greenville SMART. The university was blessed with a $999,968 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help make this possible. Since the dawn of the program it has been located here, but the exciting news is the foreseeable changes taking place this winter. After renovations, the first floor will offer a space for people to gather and collaborate in a coffee shop and an area for entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas. The second level will have several different types of spaces for business owners to work and share resources. The icing on the cake will be an auditorium for speakers, events, and other happenings residing on the third floor. These three levels will come together to create an environment that encourages learning, business, and working together. One specific department benefiting from the renovation of this 3-story brick tower is the food industry. Part of the change being made to the building is adding an elevator that will bestow access to all three levels of the framework as well as the neighboring building which is currently operating as Joe's Pizza.

Additional programs that may come to life involve cooking classes in the center's kitchen as well as a plethora of events dealing with professional development, art, music, and film. Even children could get a piece of all the action with possible day camps. Experience First students will also have the opportunity to utilize this space. Students involved in this program are fortunate to learn about the business world through real-life tasks and from organizations outside the university. This building may have the power to impact everyone across this campus and community of Greenville. Be on the lookout for changes to begin taking place this January of 2019. The opening of the GU SMART building is planned for the fall of 2019. Get excited, as this will be a life-changing opportunity for many!

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