Regional Stewardship and Community Engagement at EKU
Eastern Kentucky University has a rich and proud tradition of providing service to the southeastern region of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, from which EKU has primarily drawn its student body. EKU is committed to its mission of regional stewardship and community engagement throughout its 22-county service region. EKU has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an “engaged institution” for its strong commitment to and institutionalization of community engagement.
EKU recently consolidated several regional-stewardship programs into the Center for Appalachian Regional Engagement and Stewardship (CARES), a unified, comprehensive approach to stewardship and engagement that focuses on the five areas identified by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education:
- economic and workforce development
- collaborative government
- health, wellness, and safety
CARES represents EKU’s continued commitment to its service region, to Appalachia, and to educating people about the rich cultural heritage of the region. The reorganization enables EKU to use resources more efficiently and provides a single point of contact for EKU's regional engagement and stewardship efforts.
Current and recent initiatives include:
- the EKU Regional Extension Agent program, a "feet on the ground" initiative designed to establish and grow contacts between the university and communities throughout EKU's service region;
- involvement with the food-security program Grow Appalachia; and
- renewal of the University's 1920s-era commitment to southeastern Kentucky’s beekeeping communities through EKU's involvement in the Coal Country Beeworks and related apiforestation efforts.