Clayton Keller shares his passion for rural-urban collaboration on Rural Futures Podcast


November 21, 2018 — Born in the rural Rockies of northern Idaho and raised in the rural countryside of Ohio, University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) public administration graduate student Clayton Keller says, “Rural has been a part of my life for my whole life.”

When asked to answer the questions of Why Rural? Why Now? during the Bold Voices student segment of the Rural Futures Podcast Episode 18 at 11:50, he answers, “Because tomorrow is too late.”

The weekly podcast, “Rural Futures with Dr. Connie,” debuts every Tuesday, featuring a University of Nebraska student within a primary interview of a researcher, futurist or rural maverick creating leadership, technology and collaborative opportunities for rural communities across the country. The podcast is hosted by Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., RFI Interim Executive Director and Chief Futurist and is available across listening platforms — iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloudGoogle Play and Spotify.

During his segment, Keller shares the insights he gained after working, serving and living in Columbus, Neb., for 10 weeks during summer 2018 as a Rural Futures Institute (RFI) Serviceship student. With his partner Amber Ross who was featured as a Bold Voice in Episode 12 of the Rural Futures Podcast, he worked with the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Area Future Fund — two organizations that taught him that it is possible to rally an entire community around a single identity.

“With globalization and its increasing influence on worldwide culture, there is an ever pressing need to keep up,” he says. Partnerships are key to making sure nobody — in rural or urban — gets left behind, according to Keller.

“All too often we think it’s too difficult to bring people together and to try to make things happen,” he says. “Yeah, it’s going to be hard, but that doesn’t make it impossible.”