Urban-Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute

Urban-Rural Ambassadors
Summer Institute

Collaborating Across the Urban-Rural Divide

Spring Term 2021, Online Course  SSC 409 CRN 95552

In this two-credit seminar, students from Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University join together online to learn about commonalities and differences between Oregon’s communities that can serve as a critical framework for working collaboratively across Oregon’s urban-rural “divide.” 

The class will consist of six 2-hour panel discussions with diverse elected officials and community leaders in La Grande/Union County and in the Portland metro region. Likely topics include: history and recent trends, land use and food systems, housing and homelessness, and energy and climate change. Special to 2021 we will also have a panel on how urban and rural communities are responding to COVID-19.

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. https://www.eou.edu/urban-rural/give-to-the-scott-fairley-memorial-scholarship-fund/

Endorsement from 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


Julie Keniry

Program Manager
REV Center
Tel: (541) 962-3012
Email: jkeniry@eou.edu

Auburn Isaak

CAHSS Office Specialist II
Tel: (541) 962-3859
Email: isaakar@eou.edu

Megan Horst

Portland State University
PhD, Urban Planning
AICP National Policy Consensus Center
Tel: (503) 725-5946
Email: mhorst@pdx.edu

Christopher Walsh

Eastern Oregon University
PhD, Chemistry
Assistant Professor
College of STMHS
Tel: (541) 962-3277
Email: cwalsh2@eou.edu

Nathan Lowe

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