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The Future of Rural Texas Symposium – Host a Watch Party!

2018 September 19

Future of Rural TexasA message from Mark Smith, Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:

On November 12 and 13, the Texas Tribune and the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative will present a symposium called “The Future of Rural” at Texas A&M University. The symposium will feature community leaders, elected officials and stakeholders addressing several important issues including education, healthcare, natural resources and economic development. The goal is to convene stakeholders to examine and bring attention to rural issues. The event will be livestreamed to multiple locations across the state.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Tocker Foundation are partnering to encourage libraries to participate in this exciting free online event. Specifically, we are asking that you save the date and consider hosting a livestream watch party for your community. If you are interested in hosting a livestream watch party in your community, please sign up to receive a toolkit to guide you through the process. You can choose to participate in all or part of this event. We are also encouraging libraries to use the symposium as an opportunity to stimulate discussions of matters that resonate to their communities.

Educate Texas, a partner organization for the event, provides more information on how to get involved:

What is a watch party?

  • A watch party is a social gathering in which attendants view an event remotely. The symposium will be livestreamed and archived, so your group can watch panel discussions and participate in the conversation in your town at any time convenient for your group.

Why should my organization host a watch party?

  • The purpose of the symposium is to bring attention to rural value and needs. Through the watch parties we hope to start a statewide conversation. We encourage organizations to engage with their communities on the issues especially relevant to their region.

Are there resources to help me plan this event?

  • Yes. The Texas Tribune has created a viewing guide to help plan your event. You will also will have the flexibility to plan a watch party that meets your communities’ needs. For example:
    • Only stream panels relevant to your community.
    • Your watch party can be open to the public or a private event.
    • Schedule your event to occur after the symposium if livestreaming is a concern.
    • The number of attendants can vary depending on your space and community.
    • Create your own community discussion questions based on the panel topics.

Sign Up to Host a Watch Party

We hope you can join us for this exciting event. ​If your organization plans to host a watch party, please complete this form​ and the Tribune will provide a watch party viewing guide by October 9th when the symposium registration opens. You may also wish to download the Rural Watch Parties – Info Sheet.

About the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative

In July 2017 a group of funders came together to consider how we might collaborate to bring additional attention and resources to rural Texas. The Texas Rural Funders Collaborative (TRFC) is made up of private foundations, community foundations, and health-conversation foundations. All-together the participating funders represent a variety of interests. We support the work that many rural practitioners dedicate themselves to every single day. It is our hope that by working together and with other people representing a diversity of expertise that we have the opportunity to take a cross-sectoral approach to honor, preserve and strengthen rural life in Texas. Our belief is that the health of our state depends upon the success of ALL our communities and that urban and rural areas are inextricably linked. Throughout, it has been a priority for us to approach this work from an asset, rather than deficit, perspective; we are eager to share what is working in rural communities as what is not.

About the Texas Tribune

The mission of The Texas Tribune is grounded in the belief that giving Texans plentiful access to nonpartisan news and information about statewide issues is crucial to encouraging civic participation and a healthy, vibrant Texas. Every day, the Tribune produces ambitious public-service journalism on matters of statewide concern — to provide Texans with the tools and information they need to become civically engaged and better informed about a host of issues, including education, income inequality, health and human services and more.


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