Indianapolis, In. — Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced the Stellar Communities Designation Program, through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Development, will now combine communities, creating a region that will emphasize collaboration between neighboring towns, cities and counties“We are all a part of this great state, and through the regional Stellar Community program, we must continue to improve our neighborhoods and encourage a partnership between communities,” Crouch said. “Through OCRA’s Stellar Program, we are supporting initiatives to attract, retain and develop talent in and around Indiana, and to do this our communities must work together.”Under Crouch’s leadership, the Stellar Community program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize smaller communities that have identified plans for community and economic development projects and what the next steps are through key partnerships. From 2011 to 16, the state allocated $89.4 million to designated communities, which were combined with $108.6 million community partner contributions.“Stellar communities will no longer be applying as individual communities. We are now looking for applicants to be collaborating with their neighbors on creating a regional development plan” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “Each submission should discuss how they believe each community uniquely works together to create one complementary region.”Eligible communities include local units of government that are a county, city or an incorporated town not currently considered a HUD recognized entitlement community. Only communities that participate in the state Community Development Block Grant program are eligible.Crouch said that although any eligible community can apply, regional mentorship with past StellarDesignees and Finalists is highly encouraged.All participating communities must commit at least four years to the project. This collaborative effort will bring together mentorships and partnerships to advance comprehensive solutions to regional and local challenges throughout rural Indiana.Golden believes the philosophy of great partnerships also applies to the program execution. She said they have great partners and without their help, OCRA could not have a successful program. These partnerships include the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and a number of other state agencies that help provide a complete state approach. Additionally, participation from Ball State University and Purdue University will complement the new regional perspective.For more information about the program look here.
The USC U.S.-China Institute hosted a reception for Chinese students studying at universities in Southern California at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.Pacific Rim · Chinese Consulate General Liu Jian (left), USC President C. L. Max Nikias (center) and LAPD Assistant Chief of Police Earl Paysinger (right). – Photo courtesy of Kenneth Rodriguez-ClishamSpeakers at the event included the Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles Liu Jian, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Bob Green, and USC President C. L. Max Nikias.USC U.S.-China Institute, founded by President Nikias in 2006, was created to garner public discourse of the evolving U.S.-China relationship and key trends in contemporary China.“As the world tilts from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the work we do at USC and in Los Angeles takes on increasingly critical importance. The university is a vital intellectual and cultural link to the Pacific Rim,” Nikias said. “USC is clearly uniquely committed to building bridges of study and opportunity with China.”The university has made efforts to foster the U.S.-China relationship through the USC Pacific Asia Museum, the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Global Academic Initiatives, and the Marshall School of Business Global Leadership and Learning about International Commerce programs.Given China’s increasing prominence, the university has selected Shanghai to host its 2015 USC Global Conference next year. The conference will focus on digital media and business development.In light of the July 2014 murder of Xinran Ji and the April 2012 murders of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association worked with Dr. Ainsley Carry, vice provost of Student Affairs, to create additional safety measures on campus to protect international students. The changes, which were implemented this August, included increasing the number of cars and drivers in the university’s Campus Cruiser program. According to Carry, there has been a 50 percent increase in Campus Cruiser usage since August, and students have seen shorter wait times than ever before.Garcetti applauded efforts by the Los Angeles Police Department and the university’s Dept. of Public Safety to increase campus security.“I, as mayor, take your safety incredibly seriously. One act of crime is too much. And while we can never get to a place where there is zero crime in the city, we are going to try and get as close as we can to that,” Garcetti said. “This will be a Pacific century, and you will help lead it. I hope you will consider Los Angeles as your home.”First-year master’s students in the Price School of Public Policy Debby Zhong, Katherine Wang and Lu Tian expressed gratitude for the university’s new safety measures and welcoming attitude toward international students.“I think USC’s location is really perfect. The faculty in the Price School has been really fantastic,” Zhong said.“When I was studying in London, we didn’t really have the same environment … There was no sense of Trojan Family like there is at this university,” Wang said.