The university is certainly a local economic driver – one study found it produces an annual economic output of $154 million and 2,210 jobs.1 “Every building we’ve built, we’ve hired people from the city to work on that building,” Anderson says in the accompanying video.
But it’s more than that. Anderson points to an FSU farmers’ market that grew out of an idea from a student in the university’s Entrepreneurship Program.
“Our farmers’ market developed because we recognized there was a community need – our community is in a food desert,” he says.
“We really try to make it something that we can be proud of, but something the community really sees as necessary in their life.”
Anderson points also to how seniors, high-school swim teams and even military trainees from Fort Bragg use FSU’s Olympic swimming pool. “You can’t even get usage now because it’s used so much,” he chuckles.
With a sister school in China and the exchange of Mongolian art and dance that relationship generates, FSU also brings culture that Fayetteville might not otherwise see.
“We brought an identity to this city that didn’t exist before,” Anderson says. “We’re the only entity in this city that features Mongolian art.”
The university has partners because it’s shown it can produce outcomes, Anderson says.
“We couldn’t exist without that kind of community support,” he says, “but the community couldn’t exist without our presence here.”