FUSION is a program at CentreWorks that brings community members together to form Community Collaboration Groups with the aim of addressing a complex challenge.

FUSION: Access to Fresh Food

The challenges associated with accessing fresh food in our community are complex and intimidating, but with the help of the Human-Centered Approach to Innovation, it is possible to address its many layers. It’s important to note that we didn’t simply decide that we would address fresh food accessibility one day- this issue was brought directly to us by community members during our first RESILIENCE Bootcamp in August 2020: An immersive experience for incoming Centre College first-year students where they learn HCA, the Entrepreneurial Mindset, engage with community members concerning an issue, and complete the HCA process in a concentrated form.

Over the next several months, a FUSION team was gathered, made up of students and community members dedicated to better understanding and appreciating the experiences surrounding fresh food access. Check out some of our FUSION students!

Pictured are some RESILIENCE Bootcamp students who collaborated to take the issue of fresh food accessibility to the FUSION level.

From left to right: Phoenix Staten '23, John Bingaman '24, Lucy Swenson '24, Maddy Jenkins '22.

At CentreWorks, we define empathy as “listening to understand and appreciate” and we practice empathy in our empathy conversations. These conversations are our bread and butter! It’s these interactions that fuel the work of all FUSION groups and make up the bulk of the hard work associated with the Human-Centered Approach to Innovation--the Empathize stage.

FUSION: Urban Innovation

Urban planning is a challenge in every town- big or small. The City of Danville approached CentreWorks with an idea to create a collaborative internship opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience in city governance and community based problem-solving. Using the Human Centered Approach to Innovation, our Urban Innovators engaged with individuals throughout our community to better understand what matters to them when it comes to navigating Downtown Danville. In countless on-on-one conversations with community members, the Urban Innovators learned about both unique and widespread accessibility barriers and needs. Kali, Isaiah, and John developed a report based on the insights that they heard, and shared the words of the community with the Danville city government to inform future planning projects.

Picture are our Urban Innovator Interns! From left to right: Kali Hernandez Fraire, Isaiah Arroyo, John Bingaman.

FUSION: Better Living/Better Housing

Housing and living quality are broad and multifaceted issues. Community Collaborator Josh Will, principal and founder of Wealth Builder, LLC, came to our co-executive directors, Andrea and Anthony Margida, with an idea to use CentreWorks' processes to understand how our community defines affordable and quality housing. Josh has worked closely with our Better Living/Better Housing team, with the project taking its first steps in June 2022.

Josh has over 15 years of Real Estate Development and Investing Experience. A Centre graduate native to Texas, he founded Wealth Builders, LLC, a real estate investment firm. By collaborating with CentreWorks' Better Living/Better Housing FUSION team, Josh hopes to give back to the Danville community. The Better Living/Better Housing team is currently in the empathize stage of the Human-Centered Approach to Innovation; they are conducting empathy interviews with community members from all different backgrounds to learn what they view as a housing situation to be proud of.

Our Better Living/Better Housing team conducted over 10 empathy interviews. They have quickly realized how complicated housing and real estate are especially in Danville. Shortly after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Danville experienced a population increase. Danville is a small, safe, and homely town, so many people in larger cities like Lexington, Louisville, and even New York City, relocated to Danville since they were working from home full-time. Interest rates on housing were also at a low in 2020 and early 2021, incentivizing more people to become homeowners in Danville. The cost of living in Danville is also significantly lower than in bigger cities. Many native Danvillians were also moving houses for a change of scenery during a time when many of us were stuck in our homes.