Every week, Syracuse University professor Aileen Gallagher helps Longreads highlight the best of college journalism. Here’s this week’s pick:

Colleges share symbiotic relationships with their neighboring towns, and economic disparities tend to strain those relations. At Dartmouth, the school’s wealth and privilege overshadows the surrounding area’s rural poverty. In a detailed report by Charlie Rafkin the region’s economic data is paired with the voices of low-income families. Rafkin doesn’t just point out the disparity, but also asks experts why the urban poor get all the press. (“There is no equivalent of The Wire for rural poverty,” says one.) Rafkin spreads the blame, too. International issues appeal more to students looking to change the world. Outreach efforts by universities can conflict with the community’s own ideas for improvement. And when Rafkin’s story gets a little bogged down by statistics, you’ll stick with it for lines like this: “Destiny finished her opiate binge, left the bathroom and returned to her high school class.”

Upper Valley Families Confront Rural Poverty

Charlie Rafkin | The Dartmouth | November 15, 2013 | 14 minutes (3,448 words)

Professors and students: Share your favorite stories by tagging them with #college #longreads on Twitter, or email links to aileen@longreads.com.

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