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19 Students Serve Minnesota Through Center for Small Towns

The UMN Morris campus Welcome Center, seen on a sunny spring day
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
February 19, 2020

This spring 19 University of Minnesota Morris students are working on 14 community projects through the Center for Small Towns (CST). Acting as a doorway to the university, CST gives small towns access to UMN Morris talent and resources while providing students opportunities to apply the skills they're learning in the classroom, strengthen their bonds to greater Minnesota, and develop as professionals.

Spring 2020 Projects

Battle Lake Indivisible Group—Community Listening Forums: Climate Change

Partner: Battle Lake Indivisible Group

Student: Noelle Muzzy '23, Rochester, environmental science

The student working with Battle Lake Indivisible will plan and carry out a climate change community listening forum. The student will be involved in event logistics, outreach, and evaluation.

Center for Small Towns Communications

Partner: Center for Small Towns

Student: Griffen Northrop '21, Littleton, New Hampshire, environmental science/studies

Building on previous work, the student will prepare for CST's 25th anniversary by working with a team to develop outreach materials, contact alumni and community partners, expand the CST blog, and build CST's social media presence.

Center for Small Towns Program Development

Partner: Center for Small Towns

Students: Payton Sierra '22, Porcupine, South Dakota, elementary education; Adam Schneider '21, Shakopee, political science & environmental studies

The students will work with campus and community partners to explore how CST might most effectively expand its ability to collaborate with and address the needs of Native communities and Native-led organizations in Minnesota.

City of Morris Social Media and Communications

Partner: City of Morris

Student: Hope Guyer '23, McGregor, Iowa, history

Building on previous work, the student working with the City of Morris will collect interviews and develop videos showcasing the things that make Morris a great community in which to live and work.

Eighth District Drug Court

Partner: Eighth District Drug Court

Students: Denise Riffey '20, Morris, human services; Zachary Stahlman '20, Morris, psychology

The students will work with the Eighth District Drug Court and CST to evaluate how well the drug court is working in the district by entering and analyzing data collected from key stakeholders.

Grant County 4-H After School Program

Partner: Grant County 4-H

Students: Sarah Best '23, mathematics; Zoe DeBates '23, Luverne, communication, media, and rhetoric

The students will work with Grant County 4-H to create and implement an afterschool program layout for the future. The layout includes structured lessons that can be replicated or modified, a schedule for afterschool programming, and plans to build relationships with area schools and contacts.

HRA Housing and Senior Surveys

Partner: Stevens County HRA

Students: Sunanda Rajput '20, New Delhi, India, pre-med & biology; Jake George '20, Ramsey, political science

Building on previous work, the students will complete a survey on what factors influence workers' choices to live in Morris or elsewhere. From there, they will conduct a survey on current and future housing needs of seniors (55+) in Stevens County.

Morris Farmers Market

Partner: Morris Healthy Eating

Student: Desmond Homann '21, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, English

Building on previous work, this year's student will promote the market, welcome new vendors, and train and support continuing vendors.

Native American Boarding Schools Research

Partner: UMN Morris Archivist and Associate Professor of History Stephen Gross

Student: Lauren Solkowski '20, sociology & French, Manitowoc, Wisconsin

The student will assist in researching archival materials according to archival standards, shelve and retrieve materials, and work with library staff to develop and implement this research project, including image/document database development.

RUSC Kinship Data and Program Development

Partner: RUSC Kinship

Student: Tara Lindquist '22, Saint Paul

The student working with RUSC Kinship will improve evaluation tools for mentoring programs, collect and analyze data, create and implement an annual program survey, and continue to develop and grow the new Lunch Buddies program.

Someplace Safe Sex Trafficking Education

Partner: Someplace Safe

Students: Dylan Brunetti '20, Rogers, history & social science

The student working with Someplace Safe will develop a better understanding of how crimes like domestic and sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, and homicide are being addressed through the court system. The student will collect and analyze public data.

UMN Extension Data Entry and Analysis

Partner: UMN Extension

Students: Meghan Florip '21, Big Lake, political science & human services; Lindsey Roemeling '23, Luverne, political science & business

Students are continuing this long-term partnership with the Extension Center for Community Vitality by providing data entry and analysis support for multiple projects throughout the year.

Summer 2020 Bee Friendly Pollinator Advocacy Events and Honey Bee Festival

Partner: Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community

Student: Felicia Galvan '21, Mounds View, anthropology

The student working with Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community will develop media releases, assist with grant writing, develop social media, and help with promoting, documenting, and evaluating events.

Morris Public Library

Partner: Morris Public Library

Student: Hannah Fussy '20, education

The student working with the Morris Public Library will create a tool to help patrons find children's books showing diverse characters from different racial identities, cultural backgrounds, countries of origin, gender identities, and disabilities to expand positive views on difference.