RFI Regional Forums, Fall of 2014 – REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

This fall the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) will be hosting three regional forums across the state to highlight local success stories, listen to regional leaders and showcase some of the current RFI grant-funded projects. Each forum has been tailored to the region and the tours and discussions will be grounded in information that we collected by survey from each region.

The RFI Regional Forums will each have a regional tour which will show regional development successes that emphasize growing economies, energizing leadership and enhancing community vitality. Forum participants will also be able to hear from local leaders on how their collaborative efforts are paying off in business growth, downtown redevelopment, expanded opportunities for further education and increasing quality of life for all generations, including youth and young adults.

The forums will conclude with a discussion about what participants see as the future for their region. This discussion will also provide direction for future programming efforts and funding opportunities with the RFI.


Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit, November 6-7, 2014 – REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center | Kearney, Nebraska

Join other 20-40 somethings from across the state for the 2014 Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit. The summit is created to allow young community and business leaders from across Nebraska to collaborate and discuss issues that matter to themselves and their peers. Through interactions at the summit, young Nebraskans will discover new and creative ways to make a difference in Nebraska communities.  In addition to professional, personal, and community development sessions, there are multiple networking opportunities with other young Nebraska leaders.

Click here to REGISTER!


Rural Futures Conference, Fall of 2015

More details will be announced this fall.



The 2013 Rural Futures Conference:

rfc2012Going “Beyond Boundaries,” was the purpose of the 2013 Rural Futures Conference that was held Nov. 3-5  at the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska-sponsored event engaged over 500 people with widely varying experiences, disciplines and perspectives on rural life, bringing ideas together to enrich the efforts of the Rural Futures Institute.The conference program was designed to nudge participants into imagining new solutions to old problems by creating structured as well as informal opportunities for conference-goers to socialize and engage in problem-solving activities. It also aimed to highlight the Rural Futures Institute’s first-year accomplishments and to explore some of the key challenges facing rural communities as they strive to shape their future.

The Rural Futures Conference held sessions highlighting various speakers, namely humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson, who portrayed Thomas Jefferson as he discussed pushing the boundaries of the U.S. beyond the Mississippi River; Tom Koulopoulos, president and founder of the Delphi Group who provided participants with creative strategies for identifying and solving problems in their communities; and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, who identified challenges for rural people to harness new economic ideas for the rural future. Additional highlights of the conference included welcoming the Rural Futures Institute Founding Director, Chuck Schroeder, learning about big ideas from conference participants in the Quick Pitch Spotlight, and collaborating with attendees and communities through the Posters and Partnering session. Find the full conference agenda here.

“I look forward to the success of this bold, risky, ambitious effort for us to ensure that we do everything we can to tap the intellectual capabilities, the energy and the commitment of people at our universities, our communities and our governments to build a great rural life in America and beyond.”

J.B. Milliken, University of Nebraska President


Conference Videos: View the highlight video along with videos of each of the main stage speakers and breakout session report videos.

Community Questions: Preview a list of communities and the questions they showcased during an evening social at the conference. These community teams went to great lengths to pose a serious question for conference attendees to react to.

Quick Pitch Spotlight: Conference participants shared their “big idea” for rural people and places during a fast paced pitch competition. Winners from each podium were chosen along with an audience favorite.

Posters: Research and big idea posters were showcased and presented as posters at the conference. Winners were chosen for the graduate and undergraduate poster competition.

Download the 2013 Rural Futures Conference Proceedings