University of St. Thomas, Minnesota


University of St. Thomas
Sustainable Communities Partnership
Case Type
University Program
School Size
0 - 20,000
Focus Areas
Democratic Governance
Economic and Social Inclusion
Environment Sustainability
Environmental Studies
Grant Writing

Sustainable Communities Partnership

Website |

The Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) collaborates with cities to link St. Thomas courses across disciplines with community-identified sustainability projects, engaging students in real-world, applied research and innovative problem-solving. Our partnerships seek to catalyze systems-level change towards sustainability in the Twin Cities area while preparing students for the complexities of problem-solving in contemporary society.

Since SCP’s launch in Spring 2016, over 1,000 students from more than 75 courses across 23 disciplines have participated in 80 municipal sustainability projects.

Our focus is on multi-year partnerships with smaller communities (populations ranging from 5,464 to 25,000) seeking to make systemic adjustments toward sustainability. We are also working with watershed districts and our metropolitan council and partnering with on-campus units and initiatives.

Fun Facts about SCP

“SCP has been essential in showing how our education ties in with the UST mission. This project has allowed us to analyze real-world data, collaborate with classmates, and present solutions to problems that affect real communities. We are applying skills we have cultivated in the classroom to projects that advance the common good.” stated an Economics student whose project team determined that Delano, MN (pop. 5,464) could generate net savings of $854,000 over ten years with energy efficiency upgrades.

Year Program Established | 2015
Country | US
Federal Region of Program | 5

Public or Private Institution | Private
Number of students at institution | 10,245

Highlight Articles/Videos

City Partners

2015 – 2016 | Delano • Population: 5,464
2015 – 2017 | Elk River • Population: 23,746
2015 – present| Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
2016 – 2017 | Freshwater Society
2016 | Tiny Footprint Coffee
2017 – present | Big Lake • Population: 10,060
2017 – present | Metropolitan Council
2017 – present | Metro Transit
2017 – present | PLACE’s EcoVillage Development in St. Louis Park

Contact Info

Elise Amel
Director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives
(651) 962-5046

Maria Dahmus
Program Director
(651) 962-6391

Banner image graciously provided by: University of St. Thomas Photo