For the first time in its 29-year history, the South Carolina Rural Summit was held in Orangeburg County.
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s Roquemore Auditorium was the site for the summit, which was held March 4-5.
"It is a big deal," Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said about Orangeburg County hosting the event.
He said Orangeburg’s selection is a testament to the growth the county has seen over the past few years and how it is being proactive in “tackling the issues facing our community.”
"No one is perfect," he said. "We are trying to establish a game plan to address issues that make us better in smaller, bite-size pieces so we can improve and ultimately win more manufacturing projects and win more commercial, housing and retail.”
Robinson said the county's new hotels and facilities like Roquemore Auditorium show the county has made it.
"Now we can host conferences and conventions," he said.
The summit, which was formerly known as the Governor's Rural Summit, was sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
All of the state's 46 counties were given the opportunity to host the summit and Orangeburg County stepped up and offered its services.
The summit sought to provide community leaders, economic developers and state officials the opportunity to come together and learn about innovative methods to improve rural South Carolina.
Additionally, the summit serves as a venue to honor individuals for work they've done to advance their communities.
Highlighting this year's summit was keynote speaker, entrepreneur and author John Hope Bryant.
Bryant offered a message that creating wealth is primarily contingent upon the building of self-esteem, optimism and hope. Bryant also noted credit scores are a prime indicator of a community's success and well-being is its average credit score. The higher the credit score, the more well-off a community.
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman also spoke to those in attendance, informing those gathered of her commitment to making sure rural students receive the same educational opportunities as those in urban areas of the state.
Of the 170 in attendance, about 50 individuals were representing Orangeburg County.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.
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