University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
UniversityUniversity of St. Thomas
ProgramSustainable Communities Partnership
Case TypeProgram Stories
School Size0 - 20,000
Focus AreasDemocratic Governance, Economic and Social Inclusion, Environment Sustainability
DisciplineArt History, Biology, Business, Civil Engineering, Communication and Journalism, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Emerging Media, Engineering, Engineering Education, 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
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 2,000 students from more than 100 courses across 26 disciplines have participated in over 150 local and regional sustainability projects.
Our focus is on multi-year partnerships with communities seeking to make systemic changes toward interconnected economic, social, and ecological sustainability. We partner with cities, watershed districts, regional government agencies, non-profits focused on city sustainability, and on-campus initiatives.
Inspired by the transformative impacts of efforts that bridge art and sustainability, SCP launched SCP Arts. SCP Arts develops partnerships and projects through which students across majors collaborate with local artists, writers, and communities to translate their project findings into artwork, bringing to life community-identified sustainability goals for people of all ages. We have collaborated with partners on public art installations, such as the Metro Transit Earth Week Light Rail Installation, on community exhibits, including Pollinator Pathways, Symbiosis, and Mississippi River Stories. We also collaborate with writers and researchers to engage in community-centered explorations of environmental justice.
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
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 – 2024 | Metropolitan Council
2017 – 2024 | 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
2021 – 2022 | Saint Paul Almanac
2022 – 2025 | Center for Mission, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis Creation Care Team
2022 – 2025 | Great Plains Institute, in partnership with GreenStep Cities
Director, Sustainable Communities Partnership
Banner image graciously provided by: University of St. Thomas Photo