Improving lives in Indiana

The Center for Rural Engagement connects the broad resources of IU Bloomington and its region through collaborative initiatives. The goal of the center is to improve the lives and opportunities of Hoosiers by working with partners to discover and deploy evidence-based, data-informed and scalable solutions to common challenges facing rural communities.

The center will connect with communities to build upon their many opportunities and assets, such as the natural beauty of the region; its family-friendly community culture; and its many economic and cultural resources.

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Helping Indiana thrive

The center serves rural Indiana and its small regional cities, and it has launched current initiatives in the southwest central Indiana Uplands region.

Featured initiative

Sustaining Hoosier Communities

Indiana University’s Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative forges durable, robust partnerships with local communities to explore challenges and identify opportunities that will enhance their unique economic, natural, physical, human, and cultural assets.

Based on a national model, this initiative allows IU Bloomington faculty and their students to explore these projects as part of existing courses, in partnership with local project leaders.

For more information about this program, please contact

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Description of the video:

What we build now is going to pay off maybe not tomorrow but five years down the road, ten years down the road. We can make a difference in our communities Indiana University's Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative partners with a local community to explore understand and resolve challenges identified by the community. Indiana University faculty who opt into the program are matched to those opportunities based on their areas of research, expertise, and teaching. Each
course explores a challenge through project-based research and learning, collaborating with community leaders and stakeholders. Faculty and community stakeholders agree well before classes start on a scope of work and deliverables for each class. During the 2017-18 academic year, sixteen IU Bloomington faculty and their classes will focus on thirteen opportunities identified by leaders in Bedford, Mitchell, and Lawrence County. Classes consider social, economic, and environmental sustainability to improve the health, prosperity, and vitality of the community in the region. Sustaining Hoosier Communities gives us access to resources and gives us access to expertise through collaborative work with professionals and community leaders to make meaningful change for the future. Sustaining Hoosier Communities is an opportunity for IU to engage with our
state and with communities to share knowledge, to share energy, and to learn as well as be able to teach both at the same time. It's a two-way street and so it's an opportunity for us to better engage outside of Bloomington and Monroe County. I hope that Sustaining Hoosier Communities lives up to its word and the word being "sustaining" because that's our future. I think Sustaining Hoosier Communities is an opportunity for the University and it's also an opportunity for these communities. It's an opportunity for students, and it's an opportunity for faculty. Everybody wins in this collaboration. Most importantly, I think it's developing a very strong, lasting, trusting relationship between the University and the surrounding communities. I hope Sustaining Hoosier Communities brings resources and expertise to our community that will have lasting visible impacts that will encourage and inspire other communities throughout rural Indiana to engage to make their communities the best they can make them.

Bringing together people, perspectives, and expertise:

  • State and local officials
  • County leaders and stakeholders
  • Private and nonprofit sectors
  • IU faculty, staff, and students
  • Citizens of all ages, including youth
  • Religious leaders
  • Teachers at every level
  • Professionals in every field

Help us find solutions to the challenges and opportunities facing Indiana and its communities