Urban Rural Ambassadors Institute

Bridging the Divide

Urban-Rural Ambassador Institute

Bridge over a canyon

Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University, along with their community partners, offer the Urban Rural Ambassador Institute annually. In 2021, it will be a two-credit virtual course for undergraduate and graduate students (as well as community members) to explore urban and rural connections in Oregon, and to develop the collaborative skills to work across Oregon’s urban-rural divide. The objective of the program is for students to develop the capacity to forge a path through the tension and stalemate that often characterize the urban-rural debate and to find strategies that fit local economies, values, and ways of life for the advancement of Oregon as a whole.

The 2021 seminar meets virtually on Thursdays, 5:00–7:00 pm on April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29, and May 6. See PSU's registration webpage to register.

Course information: USP 410/510, CRN: 64996

Instructors: Dr. Megan Horst (Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Planning, PSU), Kristin Wright (National Policy Consensus Center, PSU), and Dr. Christopher Walsh (Associate Professor, Chemistry, EOU)

Questions? Contact Megan Horst mhorst@pdx.edu.

Urban-Rural Ambassadors Institute is open to non-degree seeking participants. See below for two options and follow the links to enroll. 

Non-degree participant:

  • Non-degree status is designed for students who want to take courses at Portland State University but do not plan to complete a degree. Non-degree participants can choose to take the course for a grade or can choose to audit. See more info for non-degree applicants.
  • Another option for non-degree-seeking students who do not wish to take or audit the full course is to be observers, or listen in on the four topic panel discussions free of charge, with permission from the instructor in advance. Students should contact the instructor, Megan Horst, at mhorst@pdx.edu, with this request. 

Senior citizen participant:

  • Senior citizens (Oregon residents 65 years and older) may audit any of Portland State's regular courses and pay no tuition (though some course fees may apply). Review procedures for registering from the Senior Adult Learning Center.

Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University are providing, along with their community partners, a two-week, six-credit residential summer institute for undergraduate students to explore urban and rural connections in Oregon.

More Media about the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Institute

Endorsement from Governor Kate Brown

In April 2018, Governor Brown visited Eastern Oregon University to sign a bill allocating $9 million toward building a field house on the campus. At the media event, she took the opportunity to announce Portland State’s collaboration with Eastern Oregon University on the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Institute.

“I am very happy to announce the launch of the Urban-Rural Ambassadors program. This is a new partnership with EOU and with PSU and Oregon Solutions. It will challenge students, whether from La Grande or Portland to provide creative solutions to meet the needs of our diverse communities and support our local thriving economies.”


Here are the ways some past students have committed to being urban-rural ambassadors in the future:

  • Explore rural communities more (post-COVID) and make connections!
  • Seek out more BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] rural voices, experiences, and perspectives in Oregon
  • Investigate apartment development opportunities in more rural communities in Oregon. 
  • Explore urban-rural environmental health