Sustaining Hoosier Communities

Strengthening Indiana community by community

Sustaining Hoosier Communities partners local communities with Indiana University faculty, students, and staff to improve and enrich the health, prosperity, and vitality of our region.

Sustaining Hoosier Communities nurture a diversity of individuals and perspectives, fostering a strong social fabric and culture of equitable civic engagement. These communities demonstrate a lasting commitment to their people, economic opportunities, and places.

Description of the video:

[Video Title] What is Sustaining Hoosier Communities

[Group] Sustaining Hoosier Communities

[Bill Brown, Executive Director, Center for Rural Engagement]
Sustaining Hoosier Communities is developing a very strong lasting trusting relationship between the University and the surrounding communities.

[Marla Jones, Business & Community Development Director, City of Bedford]
It is the opportunity to inspire and empower to make meaningful change for the future.

[Sarah Murphy, Undergraduate, Indiana University Bloomington]
Having equal voice across the table.

[James Farmer, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Indiana University]
An opportunity for IU to engage with our state.

[Shawna Girgis, Mayor, City of Bedford]
To engage to make their communities the best they can make them.

[Bill Brown]
Everybody wins in this collaboration.

Indiana University Sustaining Hoosier Communities is an initiative that partners with a local community within Indiana to explore understand and resolve challenges and opportunities identified by the community. Based on a tested model for University and community engagement that has been successfully implemented by over 25 universities and their community partners, Sustaining Hoosier Communities is a year-long collaboration between Indiana University and a single community partner.

Indiana University's faculty who joined Sustaining Hoosier Communities match their courses to community derived projects based on their areas of research and teaching. Each course explores and works to develop solutions to sustainability issues identified by the community partner through project-based research. Faculty and community stakeholders agree on a scope of work and deliverables for each class before the classes begin and project liaisons are identified by the community and the university to coordinate this unified effort.

By engaging in work that addresses real needs and opportunities of our Hoosier neighbors, students and Sustaining Hoosier Communities courses gain invaluable hands-on experiences by applying their  coursework beyond the classroom. Sustaining Hoosier Communities is one example of an IU Center for Rural engagement initiative. By harnessing the research, resources, energy, and service of Indiana University's faculty, staff, and students, Indiana University and our local partners work collaboratively to improve the health prosperity and vitality of Indiana.

[Text on screen]
Special thanks to the following individuals in order of appearance:
Bill Brown, Executive Director, Center for Rural Engagement
Marla Jones, Business & Community Development Director, City of Bedford
Sarah Murphy, Undergraduate, Indiana University Bloomington
James Farmer, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Indiana University
Shawna Girgis, Mayor, City of Bedford

For more information, visit

For more about the Center for Rural Engagement, visit

Daviess County is the next Sustaining Hoosier Community

Daviess County is the next community to partner with the Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative, which is entering its sixth year. This expanded partnership builds upon years of collaboration between Daviess County and IU.

Learn more about the partnership

The SHC Process

Communities apply to partner with SHC

  • SHC selects partner community
  • Community identifies project ideas
  • Community identifies project leads and liaisons who will lend their time and talents to projects

SHC matches courses to projects

  • Community and SHC identify possible outcomes
  • Community and faculty develop and agree on scopes of work
  • SHC seeks resources for projects not matched with courses

Faculty and students work on projects

  • Classes complete work and presentations to the community
  • All reports are compiled and presented to the community
  • The center can continue work with the community

Get involved

Build new relationships with Indiana University faculty, students, and staff while collaborating on projects important to you and your neighbors. Projects can address a range of economic, environmental, and social sustainability opportunities, and project leaders come from all walks of life—from residents to elected officials.

A request for proposals is released and closed in the fall.

See an example request for proposals

Address real-world issues and opportunities with your students through transformative community partnerships. Engaging through Sustaining Hoosier Communities gives students a high-impact learning experience.

Sustaining Hoosier Communities staff will facilitate connections to projects and support you with logistics, such as transportation, meeting spaces, hospitality, assessment, and media relations during your collaboration.

 Download the faculty resource guide

Impact Indiana communities while you gain invaluable academic and professional experience. Sustaining Hoosier Communities, courses span the disciplines and carry credit you can apply towards your degree. Engage in thought-provoking work that addresses the issues and opportunities facing our Hoosier neighbors.

Contact us to get recommendations on coursework

The EPIC-Network

Sustaining Hoosier Communities is based on the community engagement model championed by the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Community Network (EPIC-N), which universities across the nation have adopted, called The EPIC Model.

Build stronger rural communities together