The Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement is thrilled to host the 2020 EPIC-Network Conference April 5-7 in Bloomington. When you attend the conference, you will be part of multi-year historic event on campus: the Indiana University Bicentennial! A celebration 200 years in the making, the IU Bicentennial honors the university’s past while looking forward to the innovative teaching, learning, and research initiatives that lie ahead.
Among those future-looking initiatives is the Center for Rural Engagement and its Sustaining Hoosier Communities (SHC) program, which harnesses the EPIC Model for meaningful and transformative university-community engagement across Indiana’s rural communities.
Jane Rogan and Jacob Simpson work for the Center and are leading members of the EPIC-Network. They are the local program hosts for the 2020 EPIC-Network Conference.
Jane Rogan, Sustaining Hoosier Communities Director leads the Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative, connecting communities to IU courses, students, and faculty to address community-identified needs and opportunities.
Jacob Simpson, Resilient Hoosier Communities Liaison supports the center’s work by building relationships with community members who collaborate with IU faculty, students, and staff to foster a more resilient Indiana.
Announcing a New Way to Experience the Host Community
During your stay, you’ll get to know Bloomington, an eclectic city nestled in southern Indiana known for its thriving arts and cultural scene and incredible cuisine. You will also have the opportunity to travel across the Indiana Uplands region to get an on-the-ground view of the center’s partnerships. Conference attendees will have the option to visit one of two rural communities – Paoli or Solsberry, Indiana – where the SHC initiative has had deep impacts, offering a chance to learn directly from a diverse group of community partners about their experience with the EPIC-Network model through SHC.
A town of 3,600 set in the hills of the Indiana Uplands, Paoli is the home to community partners focused on improving public health and strengthening the food system. Enjoy lunch and a panel at Lost River Market and Deli, the local food consumer cooperative, and see other important project sites and community destinations.
If you travel to Solsberry, you will stop for lunch and panel discussion at the historic Yoho General Store before continuing the conversation at the Tulip Trestle, a transportation engineering marvel tucked away in the forest that also served as a project site.
No matter which visit you choose, you will walk away with insights into the community partner experience and new project ideas. The Center for Rural Engagement and EPIC-Network are excited to offer these community visits for the first time at an EPIC-Network conference.
The 2020 EPIC-Network Conference will be an opportunity to learn from the successes of a rural-focused application of the model and the ways you can apply those lessons to collaborations among a variety of communities, large and small.
Jane and Jacob encourage you to register before Friday, December 20 to benefit from the early-bird discount. All of the conference planning team looks forward to learning about innovative approaches, unique partnerships, and new ways to apply the engagement model that attendees can take back to their home cities—and small towns—to build stronger communities for all.
See you in Bloomington!