Engaging neighboring communities through research, teaching, service, and partnerships

The Center for Rural Engagement reimagines the relationship between the flagship campus of the state’s largest university and nearby rural communities in Indiana.

The center calls on the research, expertise, teaching, and service of IU Bloomington faculty, staff, and students to find solutions to the challenges these communities face and to enhance opportunities identified by the communities themselves. This approach is already in practice via IU's Grand Challenges program. Collaborative teams across the university are harnessing the power of research to address:

The center will also support and complement efforts of other regional organizations to develop approaches that are scalable, evidence-based, and exportable. In the process, IU students will benefit from high-impact learning and volunteer activities through IU Corps, while developing relationships with potential future employers in the region.



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.