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August 11, 2010

U of A Students Contribute to Capacity

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ARDN’s key contact to the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus and director of the Alberta Center for Sustainable Communities, Lars Hallstrom, has had a major hand in the creation and implementation of the Rural Capacity Paid Intern Program – a program that strengthens rural municipalities with student power.

Rural communities often struggle to conduct research, get citizens involved, and make important decisions. The U of A believes that student involvement can eliminate some of this struggle.

“Students are motivated, interested, and educated,” says Hallstrom. “They have the skills that are analytical, technical, and communicative, and they are under-utilized which is why this rural program was created.”

Three students are currently working in communities across Alberta. They have been helping with community development initiatives: designing a sustainable tourism package, researching alternative water sources, increasing the community tax base, stimulating empty lot development, and keeping rural youth engaged.

The program has multiple benefits; it gives communities more opportunities to develop their capacity. It also provides interns with a comprehensive rural experience, exposing them to rural planning, administration, and program development.

The partnership between Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities and Learning Beyond has made the Rural Capacity Paid Intern Program an excellent opportunity for students and communities. ARDN hopes that Hallstrom and his students will keep up the great work – making rural Alberta communities better places to live.

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