What Is RCP?

The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is an award-winning, cross-disciplinary program at the University of Minnesota that supports one-year partnerships between the University and communities in Minnesota to advance local sustainability and resilience. Our mission is to connect communities with the students and faculty at a world-class teaching and research institution to

  • build local capacity around sustainability and resilience issues,
  • train students to be future sustainability practitioners, and
  • produce case studies, best practices, and tools that can inform sustainability practice throughout the state.

Each academic year, RCP selects a single partner community (typically a city) through a competitive request-for-proposals process. Working with professional staff and stakeholders in the selected community, RCP helps to identify 15–30 projects that will advance local sustainability and resilience based on community-identified environmental, social, and economic issues and needs. RCP strategically connects each project with one or more courses at the University of Minnesota that can provide research or technical assistance to move the project forward.

Graduate, professional, and advanced undergraduate students participate in RCP by enrolling in an RCP-affiliated course, or through connecting an individual thesis, capstone, field experience, or directed study to an RCP project. Staff and relevant stakeholders from the community work closely with U of MN faculty and students to provide local knowledge and deeper insight into the issues, ensuring projects are not only innovative, but also relevant to the community context.

Outcomes from each University course are documented in a final report and presentation at the conclusion of the semester. Project results are shared with the community, and disseminated through the RCP website for use by other communities.

RCP is a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, and is a cofounding member of the national Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network. RCP was founded as an initiative of the Graduate Sustainability Education Network at the University of Minnesota, and received initial support from a two-year Discovery Grant from the University’s Institute on the Environment.