The work of the Rural Cause began in the 2018-2019 school year by a group of dedicated students who cared deeply about rural places. Our work has included:
- To advance civil dialogue, we hosted a community conversation around public education in Knox County in 2019. Students, faculty, staff, and community members joined together for this dinner to share their experiences. We plan to continue this tradition after the pandemic.
- The Rural Cause enjoys a presence at other community gatherings, too, including the annual Harvest Festival and the Office of Student Engagement’s involvement fair.
- We have sponsored community readings for many semesters now, discussing titles such as Braiding Sweetgrass and What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia.
- We attract speakers from central Ohio and around the country to discuss important issues facing rural communities. Past speakers have included a food justice advocate; journalists from the Mount Vernon News who spoke on local homelessness; and Professor Ric Sheffield, who lectured on local Black history.
- Since its inception, a primary goal of the Cause has been to support students who hail from small towns, study rural life, practice agriculture, or have similar interests and backgrounds. We pursue this work through conversations with campus leaders about shaping curriculum; advertising relevant professional opportunities via email and this website; and creating spaces where students feel recognized and supported for their interests and identities.
Lobbying for Change
- Our behind-the-scenes work has involved “lobbying” the College’s leadership to emphasize our place in Knox County in admissions and communications materials, prioritize community engagement, and incorporate rural initiatives in their work.