By Mike Greco
On May 12, University of Minnesota faculty and students mingled with Brooklyn Park residents, city council members, and staff at the Resilient Communities Project’s 2017 End-of-Year Celebration, held at the McNamara Alumni Center on the U of MN’s East Bank Campus in Minneapolis.
During the two-hour event, students presented more than two dozen posters representing their work on some of the 24 projects that were part of this year’s RCP partnership with Brooklyn Park, a demographically diverse and growing northwest suburb of the Twin Cities. The posters highlighted the broad range of research and technical assistance provided through the partnership, which matched projects with students in 45 U of MN courses spanning 21 academic departments and three campuses (Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth). During the year-long partnership, more than 250 students took part in an RCP project through a credit-bearing course or individual project.
Brooklyn Park Council Member Rich Gates thanked RCP for partnering with the City during the 2016-2017 school year. "It was a pleasure to host the students and faculty who visited our City over the past 9 months," Gates said. "They were wonderful visitors who brought a fresh energy and attention to the 24 projects our community identified. The recommendations they've provided will inform the way we approach many issues in the years to come."
Guests also got a sneak preview of a new video about the RCP-Brooklyn Park partnership that captures the experiences of some of the many people who participated in the year-long collaboration. The video was produced by Brooklyn Park communications coordinator Mary Tan, with the help of dozens of RCP participants who generously agreed to share their thoughts about RCP on camera. You can view the video on RCP’s YouTube Channel.
Although all of the students, faculty, and community partners who participated in this year’s collaboration contributed to the partnership’s success, several individuals who made outstanding contributions were recognized at the event:
Outstanding Individual Student Project Aldona Martinka, School of Public Health (U of MN Twin Cities) “Evaluating Brooklyn Park’s Community Engagement Initiative” Master’s Project in the Community Health Promotion Program
Outstanding Student Team Project Mandi Wojciehowski, Brinda Dewan, Ayla Erickson, Nick Wagner, Nova Miller West, and Kelley Probst (U of MN Duluth) “Long-Range Management Plan for a Nature-Based Playscape” Project for EnEd 4315: Park Operations and Management (Instructor: Ken Gilbertson)
Outstanding Project Lead John Nerge, GIS Coordinator Administration Department, City of Brooklyn Park Project lead for “Accessing Access to Healthy Food in Brooklyn Park”
Outstanding Faculty Lead Greg Lindsey, Professor Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs (U of MN Twin Cities) Course instructor for PA 8081: Planning and Public Affairs capstone workshops, which completed work on three separate RCP–Brooklyn Park projects
Congratulations to the awardees, and thanks to all who contributed to this year’s amazing partnership with Brooklyn Park!
Mike Greco is director of the Resilient Communities Project.