Walsh University hosted its third public discussion in its forum series titled Small Towns: Are We Being Left Behind? A Solutions Based Project, in Steubenville, Ohio, on Friday, November 15, at Leonardo’s Coffeehouse. The initiative launched in Massillon, Ohio, on June 20, with a business roundtable discussion, tour of a local business and a public forum in the evening. The forum also visited Portsmouth, OH, on September 23.
New York Times reporter Eduardo Porter addressed some of the issues facing America’s small towns in his 2018 article “The Hard Truths of Trying to Save ‘Rural’ America,” including an aging population, unemployment and addiction issues. In an effort to bring the conversation local, Walsh University has organized a series of public forums across Ohio to collect information for a solutions-based evaluation of findings by spring 2020.
Spearheaded by Renacci Center Director Rachel Hosler, in collaboration with the James B. Renacci Center for Civic Engagement, forum discussions have been held across the State for residents to share their thoughts regarding the challenges and opportunities facing Ohio’s small towns and their ability to thrive in today’s economy. Each session is moderated by former Congressman James B. Renacci.
“The small town forums have been so interesting and a great way to learn about the strengths in Ohio," said Hosler. "It is clear that community leaders and passionate citizens are at the heart of the revitalization of small towns in Ohio. It is critical that small towns adjust to economy by creating a flexibility and vision for the future. The Renacci Center for Civic Engagement plans to travel to Ashtabula for the next small town forum.”
Established in 2019, Walsh University’s Renacci Center for Civic Engagement is located in the University’s Marlene and Joe Toot Global Learning Center and serves as an epicenter for student, faculty and community collaboration, research and civic engagement on issues facing our local, state and global communities.
Walsh University students are active participants in the project by facilitating conversation and providing insight into how small towns might welcome younger generations.