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Community Project Examples

Glenwood Retirement Village 

The Glenwood Retirement Village (GRV) partnered with the Center for Small Towns to create a Storytelling Video Project and promote their facility. UMM student Ashley Dial worked with CST staff members, GRV’s Trista Pahan, and fellow UMM student William White. Dial and White conducted interviews, and gathered footage from residents and staff at the Glenwood Retirement Village. The materials were compiled into a short marketing video. CST was excited to partner with community organizations to foster positive change and promote a useful community resource.

Douglas County Habitat for Humanity

CST partnered with the Douglas County branch of Habitat for Humanity to provide a Rural Housing Advocate. UMM student Maura Joul joined CST and Habitat staff to improve Habitat for Humanity’s “Build Think Act” program. Maura worked with Douglas County to find updated information on the county’s housing statistics, and improve the way Habitat communicates that information to its volunteers. One of Habitat’s key goals with its volunteers is to give a broader sense of the community’s housing situation and how they can continue to shape and improve their community.

West Central MN Communities Action

West Central MN Communities Action (WCMCA) reached out to CST to find a student to assist on creating a salary survey for West Central MN. Lauren Young, a UMM student, worked with CST and WCMCA staff to develop a survey regarding salary and benefits. The survey, developed on Qualtrics software, will be distributed to Community Action Agencies throughout the state and responses compiled into a final report. The final report will be a useful tool to make sure that employees are fairly compensated throughout community action organizations.

Solar Skies Manufacturer of Solar Collectors

The Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Solar Skies Manufacturer of Solar Collectors, and the Center for Small Towns formed a team to run feasibility tests with small communities on solar thermal heating systems for swimming pools. UMM student Kelly Fischer worked with Xcel Energy’s clean energy program RETScreen to help communities determine whether or not solar energy would be a good fit. The project aimed to give communities the resources they need to make their community resources more environmentally sustainable.

Rural Arts and Culture Summit 

The Center for Small Towns hosts the Rural Arts and Culture Summit in partnership with Springboard for the Arts every other year at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The Summit connects rural developers and artists, and provides a venue for networking, community building, brainstorming, and creation. UMM student Christian Hahn worked with the Summit and facilitated communication amongst the planning committee as well as helped develop and plan the logistics of the Summit.