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Rural Summit 2024 Recap

March 22, 2024

UNC Rural exhibitor table with Melissa, Gabby, Adam and Gail at the Rural Summit in Raleigh, NC during Rural Week

Where were you?

We drove to Raleigh, NC for the Rural Summit 2024, which is the annual conference hosted by the NC Rural Center. The conference brings together rural champions from across North Carolina to engage in conversations and take action to build a vibrant future.

What did you do there?

The first day, UNC Rural team members and rural community partners gathered to share a meal before the conference started. From there, we attended the opening keynote on “Rural Leadership for Thriving in the 21st Century.” There was one breakout session and then the Rural Resource Fair, where we met more than 55 people from across the state. The second day consisted of a morning plenary including Kody Kinsley (Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services), more breakout sessions and the standout panel on “Inclusive Leadership: Building Diverse Communities” followed by the lunch and awards ceremony.

There’s a future for being rural, and it’s up to us to show people.

Tony Pipa, Reimagine Rural

Who were you in community with?

UNC Rural team members Adam, Gail and Gabby were joined by Whole Community Connection leaders Melissa, Kay, Tony, Doris, Aerhealle, Virginia and Kelsey with her community partner Chester (2024 Winner of the Excellence in Regional Collaboration Award). The hundreds of other attendees included North Carolinians from every sector who are from or serve rural communities. UNC Rural Internal Advisory Board members Stephanie and Meredith were also in attendance.

What did you learn at the Rural Summit 2024?

All of the sessions drew from the NC Rural Center’s Framework for Community Economic Development. Equity, Inclusion, Resilience and Regional Connectivity encircle the building blocks of:

  • Authentic Leadership
  • Physical Assets
  • Business Growth
  • Social + Civic Vibrancy
  • Talent Development

We learned about so many innovative partnerships, each with lessons we can apply to strengthen and support community-campus partnerships. Chester’s words “thriving together” are a great way to sum up our Rural Summit 2024 experience.

The NC Rural Center Framework for Community Economic Development

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