(June 11, 2013) -- The UTSA College of Public Policy (COPP) and the UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) Rural Business Program have partnered with Shell Oil to strategically develop municipal governments in the Eagle Ford Shale region. The UTSA-Shell Municipal Capacity Building program promotes socioeconomic growth by helping the Eagle Ford Shale's rural communities prepare for current challenges and future needs and by identifying potential opportunities as a result of the changes happening in the area.
Municipal government officials and citizens from communities in Dimmit, Uvalde and Zavala counties will convene for the program's final meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 14 in the Buena Vista Building Meeting Assembly Room (1.338) at the UTSA Downtown Campus.
"The training program was created to help these cities and counties better understand the ins and outs of municipal governance beginning with the basics," said Francine Romero, associate dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy. "At the fifth session, we hope to see this enhanced knowledge put into action, when our participants develop strategies inspired by the professional guidance they have received in the last four meetings."
On June 14, participants will work toward refining and realizing their action plans through a session facilitated by Jeff Barton, a planning and policy consultant, and Bill Burnett, vice president of Bowman Consulting, both former Hays County commissioners. These action plans may include a sustainable community project proposal eligible for up to $15,000 of grant funding by Shell."
Since March, representatives from rural communities in and around Shell's Eagle Ford Shale operations have attended the monthly municipal training workshops in Carrizo Springs. The workshops are hosted by the UTSA-Shell partnership with a curriculum designed by Romero and presented by a variety of professional and UTSA faculty experts. Elected city officials, community leaders and local government employees attended the trainings, which have focused on fundamental aspects of municipal governance such as municipal structure, social capacity, land use and planning, and communications, e-government and public relations.
"We've worked to lay a foundation in these cities that is conducive to economic and social development," said Romero. "There has to be a new level of sophistication in the way these governments are run moving forward, and we designed these training sessions as a way to help them come into their own as city governments in this new environment shaped by the operations in the Eagle Ford Shale."
Adrian DeLeon, mayor of Carrizo Springs, said that the training sessions have spurred his city to adopt new ways of conducting its business. Carrizo Springs has been significantly impacted by the oil and natural gas boom in the shale.
"We're doing more work with e-government and strengthening our infrastructure," said DeLeon. "For example, we've uploaded our charter online, which we didn't previously have. We're also currently installing electronic meter readers around the city."
The second phase of the UTSA-Shell Municipal Capacity Building program is already in the planning stages. It will target cites along Interstate 35 and in La Salle County beginning in September and continuing through February 2014.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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