Engaging communities through research, teaching, service, and partnerships

The Center for Rural Engagement reimagines the relationship between universities and rural communities.

The center calls on the research, expertise, teaching, and service of IU Bloomington faculty, staff, and students to address the challenges Indiana communities face and to enhance opportunities in collaboration with communities. 

Impact Report

Better Lives. Stronger Communities.

With initiatives launched in 39 communities bringing together thousands of residents and IU faculty, staff, and students to address health, resilience, and quality of place, the center's impact reaches across rural Indiana and supports a new model for university-community engagement. Learn more in the 2018-19 impact report.



To improve the lives of the people living in Indiana


To discover and deploy solutions to the problems facing rural communities


To build durable and robust partnerships with regional communities, and to support and complement efforts of other regional organizations


To work with our partners to develop a sense of a shared future in the region


To educate and mobilize an IU student volunteer force to serve the needs and support the goals of rural communities


To demonstrate how a research university’s broad resources can improve the well-being of Indiana and the life chances of those who live here

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.

Focusing students’ volunteer energy to change lives–including their own

For decades, IU students, faculty, staff, and community partners have taken part in such work in Bloomington, throughout the state, and beyond.

IU Corps brings together IU’s collective, varied service efforts to help address the world’s most pressing challenges and meet its most critical needs. IU Corps can be a starting point for students who want to learn about service and volunteer options and a gateway for community partners who want to work with IU students and classes.

45,000+undergraduate and graduate students at IU Bloomington

250,000+hours of student-based community service each semester

300+service-learning classes, programs, and student service groups

Featured initiative

Community Health Improvement Plans

IU School of Public Health professor Priscilla Barnes and her team of graduate students help rural counties develop Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs) using data from local community health assessments. CHIPs encourage communities to create SMART goals and objectives, connect university resources to needs, identify existing networks, and address gaps in services.

Help us create a shared future for Indiana.