The city of La Feria and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley signed a memorandum on Jan. 1, to work together in a community outreach program. 

The city will provide a space for UTRGV students and faculty to work in free of cost. In return, La Feria residents will be offered activities and programs based on topics that interest the community.

“We are trying to get them to have more of a presence here,” said La Feria City Manager Jaime Sandoval. “We’d like for them to be more visible, so I feel that the partnership is going to be strong.” 

Sandoval encourages residents to engage in a series of programs that will be conducted by students and professors of UTRGV.

The outreach program named “Valor” is made up of four teams of 25 students. They will lead the programs available to residents, and work out of the La Feria Community Resource Center.

“Anytime you have an institution of higher learning coming to a small community, especially like La Feria, it creates a buzz and people want to know ‘Well, why is UTRGV here?'” Sandoval said.

Senior Associate Dean for Inter Professional Education at UTRGV School of Medicine John Ronnau said the idea is to develop similar partnerships with other surrounding cities and counties, as well.

“UTRGV also plans to develop hubs in each city, meaning offering some of the more traditional services like academic advising, financial aid, counseling, how to register for classes–to increase the access of the university to our communities, including the colonias,” Ronnau said. 

Sandoval said the students and faculty will work in La Feria a couple times a month, but said he hopes UTRGV will establish permanent presence in the city.