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Marengo County Extension Office and Auburn University are working on a collaborative project that involves the community and a student.

The Living Democracy project was launched by the Auburn University College of Liberal Arts during the Fall semester of 2011. The project builds on a foundation of service and provides students an opportunity to learn and live where democratic decision-making happens on a regular basis, in a local community with citizens determining and developing their future. It is a year-long collaboration between students and citizens on issues that matter to local communities. The projects they work on range from environmental projects, such as a community garden and a canoe trail, to youth leadership and economic development efforts. Marengo County was one of seven Alabama counties selected for the project for 2013.

This summer, Marengo County Extension coordinator Kathryn Friday served as a community partner with student intern Kaleb Kirkpatrick.

"Kirkpatrick organized an Art Walk for downtown Linden," said Friday. "As part of this project, the county Extension office sponsored an art workshop through our 4-H program. We had excellent participation with more than 28 artists displaying their work at downtown restaurants and businesses."

Regional Extension agent Susan Thompson, Marengo County 4-H agent Lucinda Mason and community volunteer Lori Chapman assisted Kirkpatrick and Friday.

"Citizens from Linden and surrounding areas attended, strolled down Main Street, viewed artwork and shopped," said Friday. "It was a win-win for everyone."

Living Democracy resulted from a Auburn University College of Liberal Arts' collaboration with the Kettering Foundation to explore the role of higher education in preparing citizens for public life.

"The goal is to make political engagement the focus of a sustained experience rooted in the curriculum," said Derek Barker, the project's Kettering Foundation program officer.