Rural Radio Rocks: PA students in San Pablo Huixtepec

In rural Mexico community radio stations have traditionally fulfilled the need for locally sourced and culturally appropriate programming that promotes regional culture. Inspired by this Oaxacan tradition and a recent visit facilitated by Dr. Jack Corbett to PSU’s student led radio station, a team of faculty and students at the Universidad Tecnologica de los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca (UTVCO) have begun to transmit music, news, and interviews to the university and surrounding communities.

sanpabloBased in San Pablo Huixtepec, a community located an hour’s drive outside of Oaxaca’s capital city, the radio reaches communities within about a 30 kilometer radius. Interviews with local government officials, visiting professors, and community leaders help connect surrounding communities with the university, incorporating the educational institution into community life and local culture into the institution. Building on my own work as a Fulbright researcher and visiting faculty member at the UTVCO, I am beginning a collaborative project with the communications department to include a gender focused informational radio series.

The intention of the radio program is to provide the student body and community members with accessible, unbiased practical information about issues women have expressed a need for. Topics include reproductive health and how to address concerns with a partner, how to identify gender based violence in our own lives, students’ perspectives on their university education, and challenges women face upon entering the working world. By connecting with a rural public through a medium that has traditionally reached segments of the population who may otherwise face barriers in accessing information, this project has the potential to improve community-university relations while providing women and their families with useful information. I look forward to incorporating this work into my 509 organizational experience and using perspectives gained from collaborative work in Mexico in my coursework as a student in the MPA program in the coming year.

For more information about the UTVCO, current podcasts, and outreach efforts to date, see their website at

Mandy Elder, Hatfield School of Government MPA student