Communities across Minnesota are constantly evolving in response to their unique local challenges and opportunities. The University of Minnesota's Resilient Communities Project (RCP) was designed to help communities successfully navigate these challenges and opportunities. RCP is an innovative, cross-disciplinary program that builds community capacity to adapt and thrive in the face of changing social, economic, technological, and environmental conditions.
Our mission is to connect local government agencies with U of M students and faculty to work collaboratively on projects that both advance community resilience, equity, and sustainability and enhance student learning, knowledge, and skills.
How Does the RCP Program Work?
Each year, RCP selects one or more local government agencies in Minnesota (typically cities or counties) to participate in a year-long partnership with the University and collaborate on 1 to 20 locally defined projects. Projects can address a wide range of local issues, opportunities, and needs, and RCP especially encourages projects that address racial and economic inequities and disparities in Minnesota.
RCP strategically connects each locally defined project with graduate and professional students and faculty at the University of Minnesota who can provide research or technical assistance to drive change—by gathering and analyzing local data, convening community discussions, bringing innovative ideas and solutions to the table, and catalyzing new collaborations and connections. Local government staff and community stakeholders work closely with faculty and students to provide local knowledge and deeper insight into the issues, ensuring projects are relevant to the community context.
At the conclusion of the academic term, outcomes from each University course or student team that worked on a project are documented in a final report and presentation, or other deliverables that meet the community’s needs. Project results are shared with the partner community and disseminated through the University’s Digital Conservancy, where they can be accessed and used by other communities in Minnesota or anywhere.
How Do Communities Benefit?
Communities selected for an RCP partnership benefit from applied research and technical assistance, provided by graduate and professional students and faculty at the University of Minnesota from a variety of departments and disciplines. Assistance is available at all project stages (analysis, planning, design, implementation, and evaluation) and across all departments in your agency (administration, human resources, corrections, police and fire, planning, public health, public works, engineering, communications, parks and recreation, finance, environmental management, and more).
An RCP partnership can be a great way to
- explore emerging opportunities or needs in your community
- generate new ideas and perspectives on a challenging problem or issue
- bring community voices and knowledge to the conversation
- launch new initiatives or get "stuck" projects moving again
How Do Students Benefit?
Students typically participate in RCP by enrolling in an RCP-affiliated course, or by connecting an individual thesis, capstone, field experience, or directed study to an RCP project. If a suitable course or individual student is not available, we recruit a team of RCP Fellows from multiple fields and disciplines to collaborate on a project on a volunteer basis.
Regardless of how they engage with the program, RCP offers students opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to real community problems and issues, interact with students and faculty in other disciplines, and work side-by-side with professionals in their field.
For More Information or to Apply
Ready to apply for a partnership? Application information is available on our Apply to RCP page.
RCP staff are also available to meet one-on-one to discuss your community's research and technical assistance needs, or for an informational presentation to explain the program to your agency's staff or elected officials. Contact Mike Greco, RCP program director, to get started!
RCP is a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota. The program began as an initiative of the University's Graduate Sustainability Education Network, and received initial support from a two-year Discovery Grant from the Institute on the Environment.
RCP is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N).