Each summer, the University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) accepts letters of intent from cities, counties, tribal governments, and regional partnerships that wish to be our community partner. Successful applicants benefit from approximately 20,000 to 60,000 hours of work by University of Minnesota students and faculty, from a variety of disciplines, working to advance the partner’s sustainability and resilience projects over the course of an academic year. Prior partners have included Carver County, and the Cities of Minnetonka, North St. Paul, Rosemount, Brooklyn Park, and Ramsey. The partner city/county must support the effort through dedicated staff time and a local financial contribution. The selection process is competitive.
What Is RCP?
RCP facilitates year-long partnerships between the U of MN and communities in Minnesota. Through the program, students and faculty from across the University collaborate with a city/county partner to address the partner’s self-defined research and technical assistance needs through course-based projects. The collaboration results in on-the-ground impact and momentum for a community working toward a more livable, resilient, and sustainable future.
How Does the Partnership Work?
RCP provides the partner community with efficient access to the broad base of sustainability expertise at the University of Minnesota by matching community-identified projects with graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses that can address the needs of the community. The partner community supports the effort through dedicated staff time and a local funding contribution.
RCP has the capacity to address 5–30 local projects during the partnership year, matching each project with one or more courses to complete the necessary work. Project work will be completed primarily by graduate students, with direct oversight by faculty members and RCP staff.
Assistance is available related to all aspects of community resilience and sustainability (e.g., environmental health, economic opportunity, social equity, and community livability), at all project stages (analysis, planning, design, implementation, and evaluation), and across all departments in the organization (administration, human resources, corrections, police and fire, planning, environmental management, public works, engineering, communications, parks and recreation, finance, and more). Participating students and faculty represent a wide range of disciplines, from architecture, planning, and engineering to business, environmental sciences, and the humanities. Most projects combine multiple disciplines to address problems from diverse perspectives.
Cities, counties, tribal governments, and regional partnerships are eligible to apply. To minimize travel time and costs, applicant communities should ideally be located within a two-hour drive of the Twin Cities, where RCP is based. However, communities further away from the Twin Cities will be considered if additional funds are contributed for overnight travel costs.
How Does a Community Apply to the Program?
RCP uses a two-phase application process:
Phase I: Letter of Intent to Apply. The purpose of the letter of intent (LOI) is to demonstrate your community’s interest in, organizational support for, and financial and staff capacity to support a one-year partnership with RCP. Timeline: Next call for LOIs will be issued summer 2018.
Phase II: Program Application. Based on the LOI, selected communities will be invited to apply to the RCP program. The purpose of the application is to identify and describe specific projects, the staff who will lead them, and the participation of external partners for the one-year partnership with RCP. Timeline: Invitation to submit an application transmitted by October 31, 2018; program application due February 15, 2019; selected community partner announced by March 15, 2019; partnership preparation begins June 1, 2019.
If you have questions about RCP, the letter of intent, or the application process, please contact Mike Greco, RCP Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-625-7501.