Colorado State University Launches Regional Engagement Center Pilot Project in Sterling

Colorado State University will launch a new era in statewide outreach and service by opening its first regional engagement center in Sterling at 4 p.m. Monday, July 26. The Sterling Regional Engagement Center is located at 302 Main St. CSU President Tony Frank and Vice President for Engagement Lou Swanson will offer remarks at 4:30 p.m. An open house will be held from 4-6 p.m.

The innovative Sterling Regional Engagement Center will serve as a place for local and regional communities to facilitate discussions in areas of partnerships and community development. The facility will house CSU and other service providers and be available for networking among the region’s many key participants in the public and private sectors.

The Sterling REC is a pilot project to assess the feasibility of such centers around the state. This three-year project will serve as a networking hub for various groups that will be partnering in northeastern Colorado, bringing together services from various federal and state agencies as well as Colorado State, Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan and Northeastern Junior College in Sterling.

Seven northeastern Colorado counties – Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Yuma, Kit Carson and Washington – will be served by the regional office.

The center will also serve as a meeting site for state and federal partner agencies, with access to computers, the Internet and state-of-the-art conferencing.

Colorado State University will be represented by the Office of Engagement, Extension, Agricultural Experiment Station, Colorado Water Institute, Division of Continuing Education, CSU-Global, Admissions and the Alumni Association. Staff from these areas will be in addition to existing Colorado State University Extension, Colorado State Forest Service and CSU Agricultural Experiment Station staff already serving the area.

Colorado State, the state’s land-grant university, is dedicated to serving all areas and all residents of the state of Colorado. CSU services Colorado in part through Extension serving 59 Colorado counties, 17 Colorado State Forest offices, and nine Agricultural Experiment Station sites, in addition to dozens of other outreach and service projects and programs.

The strategic objective underling the Regional Engagement Centers (REC) is that existing CSU offices continue exactly as they do now with county support, the state support that comes from Colorado State University and federal support as well. The university agents and staff currently in place would still be there, doing what they’re doing now within their counties.

The RECs will provide regional overlays on top of that existing CSU outreach system, providing more expertise and additional services such as technologies, beneficial to the region.

No state funding is being used for the REC. One time funding is being contributed by Colorado State University and CSU’s enterprise outreach activities, such as the Division of Continuing Education, which is completely self-funded. Sterling was chosen for several reasons – chief among them is CSU’s historic partnership with Northeastern Junior College, strong Extension programs throughout northeastern Colorado, and the many CSU alumni in the region.

Frank considers the center a place that serves as a hub for regional dialogue where northeastern Colorado’s public and private sector leaders can come together to help create educational opportunities that can lead to new employment opportunities in the region.

The center will employ two new regional CSU Extension specialists, one in the area of range management and the other in the area of P-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The later will focus on youth development and work closely with 4-H programs and the region’s public schools.

CSU’s Office of Engagement will manage the engagement center and will collaborate with Northeastern Junior College and Morgan Community College to expand Colorado’s higher education capacity by working with the region’s public and private leaders.