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Urban-Rural Ambassadors visit Union, Wallowa counties

The 2018 Urban-Rural Ambassadors students hear from EOU President Tom Insko in downtown La Grande.

The 2018 Urban-Rural Ambassadors students hear from EOU President Tom Insko in downtown La Grande.

Urban-Rural Ambassadors visit Union, Wallowa counties

Sept. 12, 2019 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Students from the Portland metro area will gain first-hand knowledge of Eastern Oregon starting Sept. 12 when the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute begins at Eastern Oregon University.

The six-credit course takes students from EOU and Portland State University on a two-week tour of the state’s urban and rural centers. Students from the two institutions get to know one another while studying the issues that face each region.

Chemistry professor Christopher Walsh leads the EOU portion of the course this year, introducing students to rural governance, food systems and agriculture, energy and environmental impacts, and indigenous communities. During their five day stay in Eastern Oregon, students will spend time on the EOU campus, in downtown La Grande and at the Farmer’s Market, at Wallowa Lake and in Joseph, at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and visiting a ranch, wind farm and food bank.

Next week takes the group to the Portland area, where they’ll get a close-up look at similarities and differences in the state’s urban communities. Students from urban and rural universities will collaborate on a final project, demonstrating their capacity to serve as urban-rural ambassadors.

“The institute allows tomorrow’s leaders to learn from each other about regional commonalities and differences,” said Nate Lowe, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at EOU. “Students will develop the capacity to forge a path through the tension and stalemate that often characterize urban-rural debate, and to find solutions that fit local economies, values, and ways of life for the advancement of Oregon as a whole.”

Oregon Solutions, a program of PSU’s National Policy Consensus Center, secured contributions from public and private partners to help make the program affordable to a diversity of students. Sponsors helped reduce financial barriers to student participation and assist with program development and operations.

More details about the course are available at eou.edu/urban-rural.

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