How can mayors improve their small towns? One way is to entice residents to become engaged in local government. 

That can be harder than it sounds, says Larkin Dudley, professor emerita in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. She outlines in Save Our Towns, Episode Three, how mayors can set up citizen advisory boards by recruiting people willing to make tough decisions about their neighbors. 

The "Examples of Awesome" segment profiles downtown Glade Spring, Virginia, which created a trendy, shopper-friendly environment, while Mayor Lee Coburn tells how his tiny community, though ravaged by a tornado, overcame natural disaster and inertia to carry out the plan.

Episode Three also reveals St. Paul, Virginia, Mayor Kyle Fletcher's novel idea to raise money for his town. 

Save Our Towns is Virginia Tech's monthly Internet video series that is distributed to mayors and town managers in 80 Virginia towns and independent cities in 25 counties. Episode Three is posted at Save Our Towns or can be viewed in this YouTube video:

Save Our Towns is designed to help community leaders:

In Episode Four, due to be released in November, viewers will learn which Virginia counties boosted their economies by making a surprising choice of what kind of trees and vegetables to grow, and Jeff Mann, who teaches creative writing in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, shares how he expresses his Appalachian identity in fiction and memoir.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.