University of St. Thomas, Minnesota


University of St. Thomas
Sustainable Communities Partnership
Case Type
Program Stories
School Size
0 - 20,000
Focus Areas
Democratic Governance, Economic and Social Inclusion, Environment Sustainability
Biology, Business, Civil Engineering, Communication and Journalism, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Engineering, English, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, History, Justice and Peace Studies, Marketing, Mathematics, Operations Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Spanish, Teacher Education, Theology

Sustainable Communities Partnership

Website |

The Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) collaborates with cities and government agencies to integrate community-identified sustainability projects into St. Thomas courses across disciplines engaging students in real-world, applied research and innovative problem-solving. Our partnerships seek to catalyze systems-level change towards human and ecological well-being 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 1,500 students from more than 100 courses across 25 disciplines have participated in 100 municipal sustainability projects.

Our focus is on multi-year partnerships with smaller communities seeking to make systemic changes toward interconnected economic, social, and ecological sustainability. We are also working with watershed districts and our Metropolitan Council and partnering with on-campus 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 | Fall 2015
Year Program Launched | Spring 2016
Country | US
Federal Region of Program | 5
Public or Private Institution | Private
Number of students at institution | 10,245

Highlight Articles/Videos

City Partners

2016 | City of Delano • Population: 5,464
2016 – 2017 | City of Elk River • Population: 23,746
2016 – 2020 | Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
2016 – 2017 | Freshwater Society
2016 – 2017 | Tiny Footprint Coffee
2017 – 2019 | City of Big Lake • Population: 10,060
2017 – 2019 | PLACE’s Via Development in St. Louis Park, MN
2017 – 2021 | Metropolitan Council
2017 – 2021 | Metro Transit
2019 – 2020 | Pillsbury United Waite House Urban Farm, Minneapolis, MN
2019 – 2021 | City of Cottage Grove • Population: 35,632
2020 – 2023 | Caponi Art Park, Eagan, MN
2020 – 2023 | NūLoop Partners and Mpls Downtown Council, Minneapolis, MN
2020 – 2023 | City of Woodbury • Population: 70,840

Contact Info

The Sustainable Communities Partnership is a program within the Office of Sustainability Initiatives at the University of St. Thomas.

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

Maria Dahmus
Director, Sustainable Communities Partnership
(651) 962-6391

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