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Learning in the Community

Since I am still very new to the neighborhood, I continue to spend as much time as possible talking to people in the community. Over the past few weeks, my meetings with local leaders have provided a more vivid picture of our region, its needs, and its potential. All in all, I have left impressed with the people I have met who are involved in driving business growth in the area.

My first meeting was with the energetic team who runs a local community organization. I was impressed by their shared passion for the business community. These folks clearly enjoy working together and had created a life-giving office environment. Furthermore, they were very thoughtful about their engagement with constituents and had just gathered survey data to determine how to serve them in the year ahead. I was also impressed by their openness to collaboration; by the time I left their office, we were well on our way to planning a new venture together.

My second meeting was with a local leader who has been invested in economic development in the Southwest Riverside region for some time. As we sat at his office I was impressed by his investment in the community, his no-nonsense approach, and his commitment to bringing various stakeholders together. This is someone who wants nothing less than the best for the people of our area and is committed to making it happen. As I left, I got the distinct impression that his efforts to draw the best out of local stakeholders would have a significant impact on the community.

Finally, I enjoyed the chance to meet with a civic administrator at a neighborhood coffee shop. As we took time to get to know each other and talked about our summer travels, I became impressed with his attachment to this community; he had stayed in his position longer than any other in his career because he deeply appreciated the area. His engaging questions and evident interest in what I had to share told me that he values higher education and recognizes its worth to his city and its residents. He, too, was more than willing to collaborate, and I appreciated the many ideas he suggested to that end. I am confident we will find new ways to work together in the season ahead.

As I reflect on these conversations and others, I am again infused with hope for our region. We are blessed by great, gifted leaders who are deeply invested in the well-being of our cities and who see the value of linking hands for our common ends.

Azusa Pacific University is proud to be involved, and we are happy to discuss partnership opportunities with neighbors like you—whether to serve the local area together or help you pursue your vocational objectives through a degree in business, criminal justice, education, or psychology. I hope you will reach out to us!

Written by Dr. Drake Levasheff

Drake Levasheff, PhD, Senior Director, Murrieta Regional Campus Azusa Pacific University.

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