Students Engaged in Economic Development of Rural Areas

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


This project engaged undergraduate students directly with rural community economic development activities. Undergraduate students from rural communities returned to their hometowns and interviewed local stakeholders with the goal of identifying viable economic opportunities in those communities that could benefit from a seed grant. All of the proposals developed were ranked and the top two projects each year were awarded seed grants to implement the project. This community engagement project demonstrated to the undergraduate students their ability to develop plans that benefitted their local communities and an ability to make a difference.


The undergraduate students involved were empowered through the service learning process. Students gained a deeper appreciation for their own communities as they learned about the people and capacities of their communities.

Two seed grants were awarded each year to the top two proposals. In total, four seed grants of $2500 each were awarded to four winning community projects.

Project Team


Media Coverage

UNK students award Rural Futures Institute grants to new businesses | UNK Newsroom
Professors pay it forward to business owners | Kearney Hub
2 UNK profs share grant bounty with rural small businesses | Omaha World Herald


Contact: Kaye Sorensen,