Ethan Weiche



University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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2020 Community: Ravenna

Focus: Community and Economic Development, Community Marketing

Ravenna has a long list of projects the students will focus on, including organizing and running a Big Idea competition, research planning and fundraising for a bike and hike trail, and increasing civic engagement by encouraging residents to subscribe to a community texting notification service to receive community updates via text messaging. In addition, students will use existing and new photographs and video to create marketing materials for the community.

Peers: Connor McFaydenKori SiebertAndromede Uwase
Innovators: Amber RossGena McPherson

Sponsored By: Ravenna Chamber of Commerce, Ravenna Economic Development Corporation

Why did you choose the Fellowship Program?

I chose this experience because it provides a great opportunity to bring about positive change in the world. Moreover, I am looking forward to developing as a leader and someone capable of helping others.

What do you hope to gain?

As someone who has spent the majority of their life in large cities, I am, more than anything, excited to catch a glimpse of how life is in rural America, however brief the experience. That is to say, I am eager to gain another perspective on life.

Why is it important that students develop inclusive leadership development?

The ability to show empathy for others and ensure every voice is heard is a valuable skill. Not only does the future of the world require that we consider others, but so do the problems we face on a day to day basis. Inclusive leadership is one way of actively seeking out the concerns of people who have historically been underrepresented, and therefore vital to our success as a nation in the years to come.

Why should students work in rural communities?

The situation of rural communities should be one of particular emphasis; not only do they possess the majority of land and natural resources, but they are, more importantly, citizens. As such, I believe we owe a certain level of respect and concern for their situation. Furthermore, living in a rural community gives the student a valuable new perspective on life, which is how we develop empathy for others.

Why is it important students give back to Nebraska?

I think students have been afforded a great opportunity to come and study in the state of Nebraska. For four years, the highest priority of students is to learn and immerse themselves in their chosen field. This is all done in the hopes that they may somehow use their particular knowledge in the future. Therefore, for students in Nebraska, having lived and learned in the state for several years, to help the state and give back to the people only seems right and just.

What new opportunities exist today to help move rural communities forward? What are your ideas?

There are a number of important problems related to the entire country and oftentimes densely populated areas attract more resources and attention despite a similar or lesser level of need. As a result, rural communities are more likely to be disproportionately affected when negative events do transpire. I believe that now is a great opportunity simply because there is a significant amount of time and energy required to help rural communities, and everyday that nothing is done we fall further behind. As for ideas, I take myself to be primarily concerned with health and well-being. I am curious how rural communities would receive and alter programs based around physical activity, nutrition, and mental health to better fit their culture and existing attitudes.