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Eastern Oregon University (EOU) introduced its Sustainable Communities (first known as Sustainable Rural Systems) program, starting in the fall of 2020, to prepare students to lead transformative projects in rural Oregon communities.
The program arms students with skills in areas of brownfield remediation, economic development, community building, grant writing, spatial mapping, and more. Students engage in real-life projects with agencies and community partners. Currently, students are working with organizations including the Joseph Branch Trails Consortium to create pocket parks and trailheads in communities within Wallowa and Union Counties, consultants to help develop a baseline analysis of visitor use on the East Moraine, and the City of Joseph and multiple partners to conduct a Buildable Lands Inventory. Through these and other projects, graduates emerge ready for careers in environmental consultancy, city planning, and community development.
The Sustainable Communities program offers a curriculum for hands-on, experiential learning. Through group-based projects and civic engagement, students tackle real-life challenges ranging from environmental mitigation to economic development.
“The Sustainable Communities program provides students with community-centered learning experiences, fosters networking opportunities, and gives students the skills and knowledge they need to launch a sustainability-focused career”. Shannon Donovan, Associate Professor and Chair of the Sustainable Communities program.
The program’s innovative format emphasizes project-based learning, allowing students to progress through the curriculum alongside their peers. Seniors take on leadership roles, mentoring incoming freshmen and honing their project management skills.
Prospective students who are interested in driving positive change in rural communities are encouraged to explore EOU’s Sustainable Communities program.For more information about the Sustainable Communities program at Eastern Oregon University, visit EOU’s website.
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