West Liberty University students discovered the importance of tax credits to historic neighborhoods recently when they visited East Wheeling and met with Betsy Sweeny, director of programming at Wheeling Heritage, the non-profit organization that focuses on the revitalization of Wheeling.

“I am grateful to Betsy for taking time to share her professional experience and knowledge with these students who are all majors in Geography and Planning. She is an historic preservation expert and was able to explain why these tax credits matter in the urban setting,” said Dr. Robert Kruse, professor of Geography in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

Kruse led the tour of the historic East Wheeling neighborhood that allowed the students to learn first-hand the importance of the prominent buildings that have been in that neighborhood since the mid-to-late 1800s.

The students then visited Sweeny at her downtown office to find out how these historic tax credits are used to rehabilitate old buildings and revitalize neighborhoods. The informative meeting complemented the courses that Geography and Planning majors take that prepare them for jobs in nonprofit community organizations, municipal government positions, and the tourism industry.

Kruse, who has been a WLU faculty member since 2005, always includes experiential learning in the class since the hands-on experience is invaluable to students.

The Geography and Planning program at West Liberty University offers students a well-rounded curriculum in physical and human geography, Geographic Information Systems, and land use and community planning. Other faculty in the program include Aron Massey, assistant professor of Geography.

Majoring in Geography and Planning prepares students for jobs relating to land use and economic development, urban and regional planning, and positions in local government and non-profit organizations. The curriculum includes a required internship in which students apply concepts of geography and planning beyond the classroom.

For more information, please visit westliberty.edu/geography or contact Kruse at rkruse@westliberty.edu.

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