Exploring Ways to

Think…

See…

Do…

For The Greater Good

Our Purpose

Our Purpose

The Social Possibility Lab seeks, in writings and projects, to discover and share ways to see, think, and do – for the greater good.  Our premise is that possibility matters and that a stronger imaginative capacity is critical to addressing the complex challenges with which our communities contend.  The posts and resources on this site will be wide-ranging but aspire to a shared purpose.   Our Lab explores the many and varied ways to consider and advance greater social possibility. 

Join us in our journey to find and discover new ways to see, think, and do – for the greater good. 

Featured Story

On The Neighborly Community

“Help put away the chairs.”

This was one of the first pieces of advice I remember on how to forge relationships as a newcomer to a community. 

I have worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, but most of my working life has been in higher education.   My first full-time work in higher education was as an AmeriCorps Vista member, at a small private liberal arts institution, Emory & Henry College.  I helped grow and lead the College’s service-related programming and went on to spend several years there as a full-time staff and faculty member.  

I was incredibly fortunate as the College was at the forefront of thinking about what it meant to be an engaged institution.  I worked with two colleagues and mentors who were good people but also influential thinkers in the emerging field of place-based scholarship, Tal Stanley and Steve Fisher.  

They both championed the significance of small, simple acts of helping out, not simply as service, but as a way to forge connection with people, to join in the shared life of a community.  Indeed, they both would reject the belief that service, in itself, was a good.  Instead, engagement was about learning a place, its history and rhythms, its cares and concerns.

Recent Articles

Recent Articles

On Crisis, Possibility, and Care

I have been thinking about crisis.  Here at Social Possibility Lab, we invited essay contributions...

Possibilities Are Birthed By Questions

How do we advance new possibilities? Lately, I count myself fortunate to be able to do the work I...

On the Neighborly Community

“Help put away the chairs.” This was one of the first pieces of advice I remember on how to forge...

On Clean Energy

Every community and region is rich in story, with so many narratives, only some of which become...

On Slowness and New Possibilities

One thing I have been thinking differently about in this time of difference is the nature of time...

Why Possibility? Why This Project?

Great questions, these.   The Social Possibility Lab seeks to look around and learn about...

Food, Justice, and Sustainability in West Virginia

April Koenig, the executive director of...

Zero Waste Event Productions

Ok.  So, no.  No, not really.   No, to be...

Revolt Energy

Today, I spoke with Zach Drennen, President of...

Vantage Points: Rebecca Allen

Rebecca Allen is Program Manager with the Social...

Vantage Points: Keith Anderson

Keith Anderson is the Director of the Department...

Vantage Points: Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy is the Strategy and Operations...

Vantage Points: Agnieszka Bulacik

Agnieszka Bulacik is the co-founder and...

Food, Justice, and Sustainability in West Virginia

April Koenig, the executive director of...

Zero Waste Event Productions

Ok.  So, no.  No, not really.   No, to be...

Revolt Energy

Today, I spoke with Zach Drennen, President of...

The Commonplace #14

This summer, we solicited essay submissions...

The Commonplace #13

Finding new ways to think, see, and do for the...

The Commonplace #12

What does it mean to work for community healing...

The Commonplace #11

Here at Virginia Tech, we are excited to be able...

The Commonplace #10

As some of you know, The Commonplace is a...

The Commonplace #9

Let us consider new stories of ourselves and...

The Commonplace #8

This continues to be a year of crisis, of...

The Commonplace #7

I discovered a new podcast, Everything Happens....

Food, Justice, and Sustainability in West Virginia

April Koenig, the executive director of...

The Commonplace #6

I find sympathy with calls for re-assessing the...

Information, Knowledge, and the Gordian Knot of American Life

By Matthew Walker, Ph. D. (This is the runner-up...

Persistence: A Minority’s Response to Adversity

By Tamia Bradham (This is the winner of our...

Resources for an Inclusive and Equitable Economic Recovery

As we continue to feel the full effects from...

Wonder What’s Next? This Is How We Invent The Future

Guest contribution from Jill Hufnagel Never...

On Hopelessness & Healing In The Natural World

The Peace of Wild things by Wendell Berry When...

Taking on the Difficult, Part I

Creating new possibilities requires grappling...

Resources, Small Business, and Community Organizations

Smaller community development organizations,...

Call For Contributors

Our Summer Contest Theme:  Crisis and...

Resources For A Difficult Time

In this time of great need and deep uncertainty...

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