In June, the CSU System Board of Governors voted to invest $8.58 million over the next three years in expanded support for rural Colorado students and communities. This action came after the Board held a February retreat with rural community and economic development leaders from around the state. The retreat focused on how the state’s land-grant university system can best support rural communities in their goals to be economically sustainable post-pandemic and beyond, and engaged rural community organizations including Colorado Concern, Action 22, Pro15, Colorado Counties, Inc., El Pomar Foundation, Building a Better Colorado, and Club 20.
The investment builds off of a strong foundation of existing engagement across Colorado – including extension agents that live and work across Colorado and serve every county in the state. Having agents live and engage in the communities in which they serve, not only informs large-scale strategy in rural engagement, but also allows agents to address needs and interests of their community as they arise.
CSU Office of Extension and Engagement recently concluded a community needs assessment, which captured feedback from across the state. The office will use the new information from the community needs assessment and continue to collect feedback, which will inform the roll-out of this rural engagement effort.