Kate Brown Announces PSU-EOU Urban-Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute
Author: Oregon Solutions
Posted: April 30, 2018

Last weekend, Governor Kate Brown announced a new partnership between Eastern Oregon University and Portland State University to increase collaboration and understanding across the urban-rural divide.

“Our goal is to create a new pipeline of future leaders,” the Governor told a crowd gathered in La Grande at Eastern Oregon University on Saturday, April 27th.

“It will challenge students—whether from Pendleton and Portland—to provide creative solutions that meet the needs of our diverse communities and support our local thriving economies.”

The two universities have joined together with the help of Oregon Solutions to establish the Urban-Rural Ambassador Program, a two-week, six-credit residential institute to engage students in exploring urban and rural communities in Oregon and to develop the collaboration and problem solving skills that seek common ground in urban and rural Oregon.

During the program, which runs September 6-15, a cohort of more than 20 students from EOU and PSU will spend four days in La Grande studying rural issues, then four days in Portland studying urban issues. Underlying these studies is a focus on the principles and methods of collaboration.

In both places, field trips will highlight and provide personal experience with local issues and culture, meetings with local leaders, and structured opportunities to connect with community members. The program culminates in team work as rural and urban students synthesize their learning and demonstrate their capacity to serve as urban-rural ambassadors who can advance collaboration in their professional and civic lives.

Oregon Solutions, a program of PSU’s National Policy Consensus Center is facilitating development of the program by helping secure and coordinate financial and in-kind contributions from public and private partners to help make the program affordable to a diversity of students.

Sponsors are needed to help reduce financial barriers to student participation (students face a $500 program fee to participate). In-kind and financial sponsorships are also needed to assist with program development and operations.  

The shared vision is to establish the program this year as a standing sought-after experience that in future years can also be available to graduate students and even community members interested in making enduring connections that bridge urban and rural Oregon.

For more information, contact:

Portland State University
Steve Greenwood, Director of Training and Academic Services
National Policy Consensus Center

Eastern Oregon University
Nathan Lowe, Dean
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Oregon Solutions
Doug Decker, Project Manager