EOU Teaching Students to Serve as Urban-Rural Ambassadors

LA GRANDE – (Release from Eastern Oregon University) Students from La Grande to Portland will be offered a unique opportunity to learn about the rich diversity in Oregon when they participate in the 2023 Urban- Rural Ambassador program being offered in May. 

Urban Rural Ambassadors Institute is an immersive, three-credit, field-based class that explores the commonalities and differences across Oregon. The collaboration between Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and Portland State University(PSU) is open to undergraduate and graduate students. 

Organizers hope the knowledge students gain will serve as a framework for how leaders can work collaboratively across the state’s urban-rural divide. Former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the partnership between EOU and PSU will challenge students to provide creative solutions to meet the needs of the diverse communities and help local economies thrive. 

In 2023, 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 goal of the Institute is to provide students with a chance to learn about the commonalities and differences between Oregon’s communities providing what organizers call a framework for working across the state’s urban-rural divide.

Students who participate in the Institute will attend lectures, take part in panel discussions and hear from diverse elected officials. Topics of discussion in the past have included transportation, land use, housing and homelessness, energy and climate change and resource access and extraction.

Tentative Schedule for this year’s program:

  • Week 1: Monday, May 1, 2023, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, synchronous online session
  • Week 2: Monday, May 8, 2023, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, synchronous online session
  • Week 3:  May 11-13, 2023, residential weekend in Portland
  • Week 4: May 18-20, 2023, residential weekend in La Grande
  • Week 5: Monday, May 22, 2023, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, synchronous online session

To register, students should contact their academic advisor and Dr. Shannon Donovan, this year’s EOU course faculty, or click here

Through generous giving in support of this statewide partnership program, there is a scholarship fund available to EOU students to offset the cost of tuition and course expenses through the Scott Fairly Memorial Scholarship. To find out more about how to apply for this scholarship, interested students should contact Dr. Donovan or the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Dean’s Office: