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Commmunity Project Examples


Cory Holten, a junior at UMM, returned to his hometown of Starbuck to help local business owners improve their online presence. Holten partnered with the local chamber of commerce to create an online directory of local businesses and events. His efforts worked to improve the community’s economic situation, making sure that local businesses were on the map. Through his connection with the University’s resources and the focused knowledge of the Chamber of Commerce Holten was able to help local businesses more efficiently interact with their consumers and facilitate an online presence.


Michael Lindgren, a UMM Senior, and Zak Threadgill, a UMM Junior, worked together to create an analysis of Lac qui Parle County’s (LqP) technology education project: the LqP Computer Commuter system. Lindgren and Threadgill worked with the county’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in reviewing the system’s role in promoting computer and internet literacy throughout the community. Working with the EDA created a better understanding of what role technology education should play in the community, and how best to promote that mission. The resources of the university, when partnered with the insight and knowledge of LqP County and their EDA, helped to better understand and develop a crucial and progressive program for the area.


Zachary Johnson, a UMM Senior, was involved with launching the pilot program for the city of Willmar’s new “e-co-op”. Johnson focused on helping local foods stores interact better with the local farmer’s market and community. The service was established as an online grocery experience in which customers could order a variety of organic and local foods from various producers and pick them up in one location at the local farmers market. While making local food more accessible, the online co-op also aims to promote healthy foods. Community Owned Grocery (COG) members hope that the online service will serve as a transitional step towards a physical store. Johnson helped to manage the system and network with involved community members; he also established a connection with local farmers and producers to provide resources for creating and using online business platforms.


Patrick Malone, a UMM Senior, is working with Muriel Krusemark, Hoffman’s Economic Development Director, and the Hoffman Economic Development Authority (HEDA) to research the feasibility of establishing an assisted living facility. While working with the HEDA the local assisted living facility in the community announced that it would be closing its doors, leaving many residents worried about finding a new home. Malone was already working to research possibilities for a new assisted living facility, and the closure only added more urgency to the project. The results of the assessment will help the city determine what the next steps are in providing assisted living services to the community.


Seth Elsen, a UMM alum, worked with the City of Morris during his senior year to improve the practicality and usability of the Public Access Television Channel. Elsen, along with City Manager, Blaine Hill, worked to create a streamlined plan for the channel, utilizing a system of DVDs and alarms to schedule programming. The project ended with Elsen providing a list of possible grant and funding sources for the organization, as well as a tentative plan for continuing to streamline the station. Changes that Elsen planned include using air time constructively, delivering media that consumers want and need, and making the broadcasting system as efficient as possible.


Abbie Thebault-Spieker, a UMM sophomore, worked with the Barnes-Aastad Soil and Water Conservation Research Association to catalogue past records, data, and research. Thebault-Spieker was responsible for scanning a large volume of photos and historical documents into a digital archive, as well as analyzing the information that she found. At the end of her time with Barnes-Aastad, Thebault-Spieker provided a presentation to the organization’s board illustrating the history of the organization stretching back to its creation in 1959. The work Thebault-Spieker did provided the organization a once impossible image of their past, as well as an entire archive for their future reference.