The 2024 International Town & Gown Association's City & University Relations Conference 
Hosted by the University of Maryland and City of College Park

The Power of Partnerships: Solving Grand Challenges Together

Submit a Proposal

Deadline to Submit: Friday, February 23, 2024

Background and Invitation to Submit

The City of College Park and University of Maryland, College Park invite you to apply to be a presenter at the 2024 ITGA City & University Relations Conference,  “The Power of Partnerships: Solving Grand Challenges Together," June 5 through June 7, 2024. This year’s theme is inspired by University of Maryland President Dr. Darryll Pines’ campus-wide commitment to addressing unprecedented global challenges through the exchange of stories, collaborative exploration of issues, and the pursuit of innovative solutions.  Some challenges in the conference sessions we will tackle through this theme include community & civic engagement, social injustice, health and safety, racial equity, disparities in education, and climate change.   

The conference program tracks are designed to encourage presentations that will inform and inspire the future of our communities through classroom and mobile sessions, and will allow for a broad range of discussions to address society’s grand challenges – on our campuses, in our towns, or around the world. Conference registration is required for all presenters. If you have any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Topic Areas

Track 1: Partnerships for the Public Good – Health, Safety and Sustainability

Successful proposals for this track will explore the partnerships between cities and universities in reference to community-based strategies to advance health, public safety, and sustainability in communities. Proposals may present best practices, tools, and resources vital to partnering for the public good. Suggested topics include:

  • Partnerships Between Cities and Universities
  • Mental Health Support for On/Off Campus-Community
  • Substance Use and Addiction
  • Food Security Initiatives
  • Alcohol Free Social Opportunities On and Off Campus
  • Preparedness for Natural Disasters and Emergencies
  • Community Policing
  • Town-Gown Sustainability Collaborations
  • Leveraging Technology for Safer Communities
  • Carbon Neutrality and Climate Action Plans
Track 2: Equity, Belonging and Civic Engagement

Successful proposals for this track will examine equity, diversity, or inclusion, and explore their significance in the context of culture, environment, life experiences, and the long-term sustainability of inclusivity. Additionally, proposals may explore innovative strategies for enhancing the connection (or sense of belonging) between students and local communities, with an emphasis on boosting civic participation both on and off campus. Suggested topics include:

  • Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Addressing Bias-Motivated Incidents
  • Welcoming Those from Home, Near, and Far, Far Away
  • The Impact of Remote Work on Colleges and Their Communities
  • Community Colleges and Their Role in Social Mobility
  • The role of HBCUs and HSIs towards social justice and a sense of belonging
  • Revitalizing Rural College Communities
  • Economic Development in an Academic Year Economy
  • Workforce Training Programs
  • Successful Student Code of Conduct Models
  • Protests and Social Activism
  • Volunteerism and Meaningful Community Connections
  • History Matters – negative impacts of development, redlining, segregation, institutional expansion, urban renewal, and disinvestment
Track 3: Placemaking, Housing and Development

Successful proposals for this track will foster discourse on how cities  and universities can collaborate to establish vibrant communities that service the needs of employees, students, and residents alike. Further, proposals may discuss on and off campus housing solutions, neighborhood character considerations, and relationships between permanent residents, landlords/property managers and students. Suggested topics include:

  • Housing Affordability for Community Residents and Students
  • Revitalization and (re)Development
  • Housing Outreach and Engagement
  • Reconciling High-Priced Amenities with the Needs of Low-Income Students and Residents
  • Transformational Infrastructure and Public Open Space
  • Joint Use Facilities and Green Spaces
  • Non-traditional and Innovative Housing Models
  • Anchor Purchasing from Local, Small Suppliers

Mobile Sessions

Conference attendees from the College Park area, including non-profits, community colleges, local businesses, and landlords, are invited to submit proposals for mobile sessions after 3:00pm on the afternoons of Wednesday, June 5, Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7. Mobile sessions offer participants the ability to leave the conference site for unique interactive experiences. Each mobile session will be scheduled for no more than two hours. Transportation and any other costs are the responsibility of the presenters in coordination with the Host Committee.

Mobile sessions will be submitted, evaluated and accepted on the same basis as other proposals for concurrent sessions and should address learning objectives and outcomes. Proposals should include a logistics timeline indicating travel time to and from the conference site. Mobile session topics must fit into one of the three tracks.

Submission Requirements and Important Dates

  • Name of contact person and contact information
  • Title of innovation or solution
  • Track number 
  • Include student enrollment size and population of city/town
  • Description of the format and outline of the content and key messages
  • Abstract in 75 words or less describing your program session (to be used in the conference program)
  • Learning outcomes
  • Indicate whether this is a mobile session
  • Sessions are limited to a total of 60 minutes, keeping into account the desire for interactive sessions encouraging attendee participation.
  • Rooms are equipped with audio/visual capabilities-projector screens and/or flat screen TVs. Presenters must bring your own laptop.
  • You must submit your proposal on or before Friday, February 23, 2024.
  • You will be notified on or before Thursday, March 28, 2024 regarding the status of your proposal.

ITGA Core Competencies

Each proposal must connect to one of ITGA’s Core Competencies below. For more information, click here.

  • Building Community: Strengthening, adding, and growing diverse, equitable and inclusive opportunities for all members of the community
  • Transforming Relationships: Creating collaborative partnerships to foster economic growth and success of the community
  • Wellbeing: Creating a balanced approach to health, safety and wellness to faculty, staff, students and community members
  • Resiliency: Responding to environmental challenges

Who Should Submit

  • Mayors
  • City administrators
  • Elected officials
  • University/college presidents
  • Vice presidents
  • City/campus police officers
  • City/campus planners
  • Housing administrators
  • Parking/transportation officers
  • Students/community members
  • Private housing developers 
  • Others sharing a unified town gown vision

Suggested Guidelines for a Successful Session

Representative of multiple organizations

Sessions should be representative of town and gown relations, so it is important to include both university and community stakeholder perspectives.

Telling your story

Many times, we focus on the “what” without exploring the “how.” We encourage you to share challenges and how you overcame these, as well as any lessons learned throughout the process.

Show your data

Research, data and program evaluation are part of many processes, and we are interested to understand this part of your experience. Make sure to share any data/metrics you have, as well as how that has informed your work.

Make it a conversation

Conference presenters can sometimes fall into the routine of lecture-style and/or tour-like presentations that are not always the most engaging for attendees. We want this conference to be an exchange of information, so we encourage you to develop your classroom and/or mobile style session as interactive and conversational as possible.


Submit a Proposal