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Oklahoma State University
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The Rural Initiative: Ensuring the Future of Rural Oklahoma.  The future of many rural communities in Oklahoma, as well as elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world, is jeopardized by natural resource degradation, climate change, drought and sociocultural trends. Those threats are draining away human talent, expanding a technology gap between rural and urban society and leading to rural population losses. The Rural Initiative will strive to inspire, empower, and coordinate rural renewal research at Oklahoma State University and beyond. Its portfolio will include on-campus, basic research closely integrated with participatory, place-based, applied research and engagement. Iterative cycles of needs assessment and program evaluation will be used to measure impacts on participating communities, researchers, and students and to adjust tactics as needed to promote community-driven and sustained processes of rural renewal.