Have you ever wondered what people think about your community? How individuals present themselves has a powerful effect on future opinions. As the old saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” For first-time visitors, the way a community presents itself is of equal importance. The look and feel of the community experienced by a visitor will most likely influence how long they stay, if they will return, and whether or not they will speak about the community positively or negatively.

The West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Service views the Community First Impressions Program as an important tool in the community development process. In 2015, the Northeast Center provided funding to their team, which includes several partner institutions, to expand this programming into other states. As part of the training that the WVU provided to the team, they produced four webinars, which are available for viewing below:

Educational Webinar #4, August 19, 2015:
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the First Impressions Program

Educational Webinar #3, August 3, 2015:
Programming for Unique Audiences

Educational Webinar #2, June 24, 2015:
Tourism Destinations, Small Communities

Educational Webinar #1, May 27, 2015:
An Introduction to the First Impressions Program

( Download the PowerPoint slides here. )

Project Team

  • Doug Arbogast (West Virginia University)
  • Laura Brown (University of Connecticut)
  • Lisa Chase (University of Vermont)
  • Daniel Eades (West Virginia University)
  • Robin Frost (West Virginia University)
  • C. Andrew Northrop (Michigan State University)
  • Geoffrey Sewake (University of New Hampshire)