The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is a highly successful, 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. The idea behind RCP is simple: Connect the students and faculty at a world-renowned teaching and research institution with local communities to address economic, social, and environmental issues, needs, and opportunities and make the world a better place.
Each year, RCP selects one partner community (typically a city or county) through a competitive request-for-proposal process. Working with staff and stakeholders in the community, RCP helps to identify 15–30 potential projects that will advance local sustainability and resilience based on community-identified environmental, social, and economic issues and needs. RCP then serves as a centralized “matchmaker,” strategically connecting these projects with existing courses or independent student projects at the University of Minnesota that can provide research or technical assistance to move the projects forward. Local government staff and 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. Outcomes from each University course are documented in a final report and presentation to the community partner.
Graduate, professional, and advanced undergraduate students can participate in RCP by enrolling in an RCP-affiliated course, or through connecting an individual thesis, capstone, or independent study to an RCP project. Please contact program staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss connecting your individual work to an RCP project.
In addition to helping the University fulfill its land-grant mission, RCP provides many benefits for students and faculty who collaborate with the program, including:
- Efficient access to high-quality and well-organized community projects
- Experience applying knowledge and skills to real-world issues
- Potential to advance local sustainability and resilience and make a difference
- Opportunities to network with local government and industry personnel
- Local and regional visibility and recognition for their work
Communities benefit in many ways, including:
- Efficient access to the full range of U of MN departments and resources
- Increased local capacity through access to hundreds of students and thousands of hours of student time
- An infusion of energy and creativity to move projects forward
- Opportunities to test new ideas and approaches and make data-driven decisions
- Visibility and recognition as a leader in sustainability and resilience
- Opportunities to network with young professionals entering the workforce
RCP uses both social and traditional media to publicize the work of students and faculty, and stories about RCP projects frequently appear in on-campus publications and local media outlets. Student projects are frequently profiled on the RCP website and staff are always looking for students eager to share their experience and be featured. Providing RCP staff with periodic updates and photos about the progress of your project helps us promote your work to a broader audience (provide your updates here). In addition, RCP hosts an annual End-of-Year Celebration, typically in May, where students are invited to present their work at a poster session. Check out the Poster Hub for more information on participating.
RCP will reimburse reasonable project-related expenses incurred by faculty or students, including travel to and from our community partner, printing, and supplies. Lodging, meals, computer hardware or software, and parking at the University of Minnesota are NOT eligible expenses. To request reimbursement, you must submit a completed and signed U of MN Reimbursement Form, as well as itemized receipts for any eligible expenses. Contact RCP with questions!
YES! Highlighting an RCP project you worked on is a great way to demonstrate to future employers that you have hands-on, professional experience collaborating with a partner community or client. Students often tell us they used their RCP project in interviews for job and internships to illustrate specific skills and experience.