“Better Together” is the new relationship status between Muncie and Ball State. 

Since coming to campus, President Geoffrey S. Mearns made it a point to get involved with the Muncie community. 

"The reality is the university, any university, can't be great, can't thrive and grow unless the community that supports it and surrounds it is also growing and thriving," Mearns said in a May 15 interview with the Daily News. "Our future, the future of Delaware County and east central Indiana is critical and vital to the future of the institution."

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During his installation on Friday, Mearns shared the same message when he spoke about his partnership with The Star Press to host community forums. 

“I think it’s in our institutional interest, our futures are connected, so Ball State has a direct interest in helping support Muncie,” Mearns said. “Also, it’s about gratitude. We have an obligation to support our community when they need us.” 

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The community forums came out of a conversation between Mearns and the executive editor of The Star Press, Greg Fallon. 

Mearns’ goal for the forums is to listen to community members about how the university and the Muncie community can continue to bridge the gap. 

Mearns, Ball State faculty and staff and community leaders will host community forums beginning this Wednesday. 

Community Forum Dates 

Time: 6 p.m. 

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 13

Place: Southside Middle School Auditorium, 1601 E. 26th St., Muncie

Theme: Neighborhoods/Education 

Speakers:

  • Julius Anderson, Muncie City Council 
  • Ken Hudson, executive director, Whitely Community Council 
  • Wilisha Scaife, director of Family Engagement, Muncie P3, Ball State  
  • Heather Williams, Building Better Neighborhoods program manager, Office of Community Engagement, Ball State  
  • Eva Zygmunt, Helen Gant Elmore Distinguished Professor of Elementary Education, Ball State   

Time: 6 p.m. 

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 27

Place: Minnetrista, 1200 N. Minnetrista Parkway, Muncie

Theme: Arts and Culture 

Speakers:

  • Tom Bracken, member of Ball State Board of Trustees and president of George and Frances Ball Foundation
  • Leigh Edwards, board president, Muncie Civic Theatre
  • Ryan Hourigan, director, School of Music, Ball State 
  • Akilah Nosakhere, director, Muncie Public Library
  • Tania Said, director of education, David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State   

Time: 6 p.m. 

Date: Thursday, Oct. 12

Place: Cornerstone Center for the Arts, 520 E. Main St., Muncie

Theme: Economic Development

Speakers:

  • Delaina Boyd, interim associate vice president, community engagement, Ball State 
  • Chris Caldwell, senior vice president, commercial and business banking, Mutual Bank
  • Traci Lutton, vice president, economic development, Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance
  • David Terrell, director, Rural Policy Research Institute, and interim co-director, Indiana Communities Institute, Ball State