OUR Clemson; Student Affairs

ITGA Annual Conference shines bright light on Clemson University, City of Clemson


ITGA President Britany Waddell addresses conference attendees for the International Town & Gown Association on June 6, 2022
International Town and Gown Association President Britany Waddell addresses conference attendees in Hendrix Student Center on June 6, 2022.
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Clemson University’s main campus generated some buzz this week.

Dabo Swinney’s football program hosted hundreds of youth for its annual summer camp.

New students and families went through Ready, Set, Roar! — the first of several in-person Orientation experiences this summer — at the Brooks Center for Performing Arts.

Perhaps no event brought a more diverse group of individuals together than the annual conference of the International Town and Gown Association (ITGA), which took place Sunday through Wednesday.

More than 250 attendees representing multiple states and countries — including Canada and the United Kingdom — descended on Hendrix Student Center to share best practices and identify opportunities for improving town and gown relationships.

“An impressive group attended this year’s conference. Included were City administrators, council members, law enforcement, department directors, deans, professors, students, university presidents and vice presidents, CEOs and executive directors. They represented 10 nonprofits, 26 private sector organizations, 76 cities, towns and boroughs, and 150 universities and colleges.”

Britany Waddell, ITGA president and assistant planning director for the City of Raleigh, North Carolina

Attendees enjoyed axe throwing on Sunday at Kite Hill Brewing Company, a Monday reception at the Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center at the Snow Complex and on Tuesday experienced downtown Clemson through live entertainment and dining as part of the “On the Avenue” summer series.

The event was bookended with a welcome from Clemson Mayor Robert Halfacre and closing remarks by University President Jim Clements. Halfacre praised attendees for supporting the ITGA’s mission of strengthening town-gown partnerships by identifying and sharing promising practices and innovative solutions.

Clements shared several successes realized through joint efforts by the University and City of Clemson.

“We’re honored to have hosted this conference in Clemson, the first since the onset of the pandemic,” Clements said. “The Princeton Review has ranked Clemson No. 1 in national town and gown rankings in the recent past. We hold a ton of events on our campus and in our town — just like this conference — and we have to hold hands and be a team. We’re always trying to get better. Ultimately, it’s about impact and what you can do for others — we’re in the business of changing lives.”

The event attracted individuals representing a broad spectrum of affiliations in higher education, including Nicole Prewitt from the University of Alabama’s Community Affairs division.

“The beauty of this conference is it comes to life by the selection of the host location,” Prewitt said. “In shared town and gown spaces, we have an opportunity not only to see the university or college, but also the town or municipality, and hear from representatives of both. It’s critically important.”

The annual conference also brought some alumni back home to Clemson, including City of Conway Deputy Administrator Mary Catherine Hyman (’00, M ’02).

“I loved every minute of roaming these hills again!” Hyman said. “This was my first ITGA experience, and it did not disappoint. I hoped to glean a few ideas to continue to strengthen the relationship between the City of Conway and Coastal Carolina University. I’m thrilled to leave the conference with much more than a few ideas!”

Highlights from the annual conference included:

• Keynote remarks delivered by Clemson University faculty and staff — Lior Rennert (Department of Public Health Sciences), Tia Dumas (Office of the Provost) and Scott Baier (John E. Walker Department of Economics).

• Tours of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, Call My Name Walking Tour of Woodland Cemetery and Clemson University’s military heritage. 

• Colorado State University and Fort Collins, Colorado were announced as hosts of the 2023 conference.

• Organizational leadership announced the newest class for the ITGA certification program, which has 275 graduates to date. ITGA executives also recognized its board of directors and past president Emily Seems.

• Recipients of the 2022 ITGA Presidential Excellence Award were presented to Healthy Davis Together (joint project between UC Davis and Davis, California) and the University of Alabama’s Home First program.

• ITGA successfully launched Campus & Community Day on April 13 and a revamped website.