Urban-Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute

Urban-Rural Ambassadors

Collaborating Across the Urban-Rural Divide

In-person weekend series: Next offering in Spring Term 2024

The Urban Rural Ambassador’s Institute is a collaboration between Eastern Oregon University and Portland State University, in partnership with the National Policy Consensus Center and the Rural Engagement and Vitality Center. In 2024, the class will include one weekend-long residential field trip to La Grande and one weekend-long residential field trip to Portland as well as several online sessions with guest speakers and activities to complement the field outings.

The institute provides students from both schools an opportunity to learn about the commonalities and differences between Oregon’s communities, building a critical framework for understanding the nuances of working across the state’s urban-rural “divide.” Students will participate in panel discussions, attend lectures from diverse elected officials and community leaders, and build relationships with people across the state. Likely topics include: resource access and extraction, land use and food systems, housing and homelessness, and energy and climate change.

Learn more!

To register, students should contact their academic advisor or course faculty.

Support the program!

To support this program, make a contribution via the EOU Foundation.

Advancing collaboration on urban-rural solutions

The institute will allow tomorrow’s leaders to learn from each other about regional commonalities and differences. 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. Likely topics include: Land use and natural resources  Food production/food security, Housing and homelessness, and Environmental impacts

Media about the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Institute 

Scott Fairley Memorial Scholarship

The Scott Fairley Memorial Scholarship Fund provides tuition for undergraduate students from Eastern Oregon University to participate in the Urban and Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute, a partnership of Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University. Those who worked closely with Fairley knew well his advocacy for eastern Oregon, whether it was through his work as a state employee or his time on the city council. He was known as a collaborator with an uncommon ability to bring people together on divisive issues. He took his positivity, combined with his breadth of knowledge, to bridge discussions in Salem often for the good of communities of Eastern Oregon. The memorial fund is a fitting tribute to a public servant who understood rural and urban issues and served the public across the state.

Endorsement from former Governor Kate Brown

In April of 2018, Governor Brown visited Eastern Oregon University to sign a bill allocating $9 million toward building a field house on their campus. At the media event, she took the opportunity to announce Portland State’s collaboration with Eastern Oregon University on the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute.

“I am very happy to announce the launch of the Urban-Rural Ambassadors program. This is a new partnership with EOU and with PSU and Oregon Solutions. It will challenge students, whether from La Grande or Portland to provide creative solutions to meet the needs of our diverse communities and support our local thriving economies.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown


Terri Kaiser

Program Manager
Rural Engagement & Vitality Center
Tel: 541-962-3012
Email: tkaiser@revcenter.org

Kayla Standley

CAHSS Administrative Program Assistant
Tel: 541.962.3508
Email: kstandley1@eou.edu

Kristen Wright

Portland State University
Tel: (503) 725-9078
Email: kjwright@pdx.edu

Daniel Costie

Eastern Oregon University
Ph. D, Public Administration
Public Administration
Tel: 541-962-3141
Email: dcostie@eou.edu

Nathan Lowe

Eastern Oregon University
Dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Tel: (541) 962-3098
Email: nlowe@eou.edu