Indiana University’s Center for Rural Engagement is partnering with Washington County to connect faculty and students with quality of life initiatives. 

The Sustaining Hoosier Communities program uses resources from the university to help neighboring communities with health and wellness, infrastructure planning and natural resources management.

The yearlong effort engages faculty and students from more than 20 IU Bloomington courses with community leaders.

“Over the last year, we have had many community meetings and opportunities for our citizens to express their ideas for creating our preferred future in Washington County,” explained Judy Johnson, executive director of the Washington County Community Foundation. “As we begin a new decade, we have the opportunity to work together to make our community an amazing place to live, work, play and raise a family.”

Washington County is about 50 miles southeast of Bloomington. The county’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and the lumber industries. It also offers an abundance of natural resources that visitors and residents can enjoy, like the Knobstone Hiking trail.

The goal is to help the county promote and take full advantage of its resources.

“This engaged teaching initiative will connect a breadth of resources to projects that meet the community’s goals and continue to expand local capacity for new initiatives with an intensive, comprehensive approach,” said Kerry Thomson, executive director for the IU Center for Rural Engagement.

With the center’s launch in 2018, Washington County focused on quality of place, including an ongoing rural arts series involving the Jacobs School of Music, IU Cinema, and the Department of English.

The center will hold community meetings to generate ideas, hear feedback, and discuss possible projects and plans for the community.

  • Feb. 4: Campbellsburg Community Building
  • Feb. 6: Pekin Park Community Building, New Pekin
  • Feb. 11: Senior Citizen Center, Salem

Each meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.