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Planning Grad's Social Enterprise Supported in China

A social enterprise co-founded by Qinghong Wei, a 2014 doctoral graduate of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP), recently won a nationwide social innovation competition in China.

The organization, pARTicipate, won a $750,000 yuan, or $120,000, in equity investment from CSRDC, an institution that is a major driving force of social and educational innovation in China.

Wei co-founded pARTicipate with her partners Mengyang Jiang and Fenglin Zhao from Beijing in 2014. The three have worked together since 2013 to develop online art education programs to empower rural students in China. The organization aims to empower individuals and communities through arts, building on ideas employed in the Swamp Gravy model in Colquitt, Georgia.

The Swamp Gravy organization involves the rural community in writing, staging, performing, and promoting a series of folk plays about the region. Developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the project has transformed the rural community with new economic, artistic, and community-building life.

DURP is a co-sponsor of an annual Building Creative Communities Conference in Colquitt, an event that inspired and shaped some of Wei's ideas and plans.

The mission of pARTicipate is to provide a comprehensive system of art education and creative community building services through three approaches – online art education, international exchange and certificate programs, and creative community building. The mission is to promote positive transformation of the lives of citizens and the development of communities through innovation.

Congratulations Dr. Wei and pARTicipate!