S2, E5 – Roads, Higher Ed, & Racism – Students ask the IIRA

On this episode, Chris Merrett from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs responds to questions formed from students at Cuba High School in Cuba, IL.  These questions reflect  a range of challenges facing small towns, not only in Cuba, but throughout Forgottonia. The essential questions our students asked Chris include the following:


  1. How do you feel about the road conditions in IL? Our small towns tend to get overlooked on issues with the pot holes in the roads. Being a teen driver I hate getting flat tires every other day.
  2. How do you feel about lowering the amount of young citizens who leave IL for college? What is something we can do to help increase enrollment at WIU?
  3. How do you think we can improve on getting rid of racism in small towns throughout IL?

Chris is the director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs located in Macomb, IL.  He holds a Ph.D. in Planning and Geography from the University of Iowa. Chris is originally from Canada, but has been a native of Forgottonia since 1995. His wife teaches 4th grade at St. Paul’s School in Macomb, IL, he has a son who studies sociology at the University of Illinois in Champaign and a daughter who serves in the “Food Corps” in San Diego. Chris loves to cycle and ski and is passionate about making rural communities better versions of themselves. (Check out our previous interview with Chris Merrett–linked below– where he discusses the challenges facing businesses throughout rural America). 


Helpful links mentioned in our interview with Chris:

Audio clips included in this episode come from the following:

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