Humza Haider ’17, CST staffer Kelly Asche, and Ben Winchester from the University of Minnesota Extension partnered to collect information about different incentives offered to buy property in rural Minnesota. The team’s goal was to create a record of incentives and promotions listed for each community they surveyed in to better attract new residents and employees to small towns in Minnesota.
Madison Hughes ’17, entered data for University of Minnesota Extension. Hughes collected data on classroom evaluations, and the working data of employees and extension educators. By organizing and consolidating this data Hughes enables educators to improve their programs and see the impact their programming has on students.
Katie Winter ’15, partnered with the Sustainable Tourism and Resilient Communities portion of the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership through the University of Minnesota Extension to create a showcase event for local artists. Winter worked with Extension employee David Fluegel, and helped to put together the two part series, Local Color that brought together community members and local artists.
Charlie Diamond ’15, helped gather information on funding sources for parks, pools, and playgrounds in small towns throughout Minnesota. Diamond collaborated with Jacki Anderson, Emily Zandt, and Erin Smith, from the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission to better understand how communities can fund, maintain, and preserve their community recreation space.
Sam Gill ’16, and the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce organized and put together the Non-Profit Community Expo, and Prairie Pioneer days - both staples of the community event calendar. Gill was excited to be able to help promote and improve events that bring the community together and help create the unique community atmosphere in Morris.
Benjamin Osmand ’15, was involved organizing Green Island, Wadena’s new community tourism project. Green Island is a partially public space that was once a 60 acre family farm that has been transformed back into its original forested form. The community aims to boost tourism and better stimulate the area’s economy with attraction that preserves their natural land and resources.
Ricky Rojas ’16 worked with UMM Professor Arne Kildegard to gather and analyze data on energy use at Minnesota’s rural electric cooperatives.Professor Kildegaard and Rojas created a regression model that helps to analyze the feasibility of different sustainable options at each rural electric cooperative. The pair’s goal is to create positive and environmentally friendly options at the cooperatives throughout rural Minnesota.
Seth Elsen ’13 worked with the City of Morris Public Access Television channel, along with the Morris City Manager Blaine Hill. The goal was to streamline the channel and make it more efficient to run and to access.
Jolee Henkel ’15 worked to help create a comprehensive breakdown of Stevens County’s carbon footprint. The project was in cooperation with Stevens FORWARD!, a nonprofit agency focused on creating a brighter future for members of Stevens County.
Zach Johnson ’14 worked with the Regional Sustainable Partnership to promote local foods and agriculture in the area. Johnson was involved in a program that looks not only to survey local vendors and producers of local foods, but also tries to bring the Incubator Farms program to the west central area. The program helps give potential farmers the knowledge, tools, and resources to begin farming and creating local foods for the community.
Zachary Threadgill ’14 worked with the Minnesota company Agralite to create a system of rewards for citizens who use cooperatively owned energy in their communities. He worked with a variety of local businesses to coordinate the rewards and voucher program that would later be instituted.
Reid Ronnander ’14 worked with the four-township area (comprised of Eagles Nest, Fall Lake, Stony River, and Morse Township) just outside of Ely. He and Kelly Asche, CST Program Coordinator, created a survey on important issues arising in the four-township area to gauge community opinion and response to community-centered concerns.
Ashley Woods ’13 presented at the 2012 American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference, held in Anchorage, Alaska. Woods presented on using analysis of sediment to determine and better understand the nature and source of chemical input in Lake Wakanda, Willmar.
Zachary Johnson ’14 helped to launch the pilot for Willmar’s new “e-co-op”. He focused on helping local foods stores interact better with the local farmer’s market and community. Both he and CST were interested in expanding access and understanding of local foods in the area.
Madeline Moyer ’13 worked with Kelly Asche, CST Program Coordinator, to create a comprehensive community health needs assessment spanning Stevens, Grant, Douglas, Traverse, and Pope counties. Using various sources, including the United States Census and the Minnesota Department of Health, Moyer gathered data about current and past issues surrounding the health of area residents. Moyer and Asche looked closely at emerging trends and issues in the assessment.
Samantha Bruno ’13 worked with the Center for Small Towns throughout her time at Morris. Many students work on a variety of projects with CST throughout their careers as students. Below are three examples of Bruno’s exemplary work:
- Bruno worked with the Benson Chamber of Commerce to recreate the organization’s website. She compiled a database of over 100 local businesses to post online. The goal of the project was to increase knowledge of what the city offers and what tourism opportunities are available in Benson.
- She also worked alongside Kristin Lamberty, Associate Professor of Computer Science, to research the usability of the West Central Initiative’s (WCI) new website. They aimed to identify which parts of the website worked smoothly and navigated easily, and what needed revision and/or updating.
- Finally, Bruno created a report focusing on ways in which arts and culture can be used as economic development tools in the Region 5 area. She was also involved in updating and modifying databases of information on local artists, government, and historical societies in the area.
Abbie Thebault-Spieker ’16 catalogued historical documents for the Barnes-Aastad Soil and Water Conservation Research Association. There had previously been no formal organization or archiving of the lab’s early records. The Barnes-Aastad Association is a stakeholder group for the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris.
Cory Holten ’15 returned to his hometown of Starbuck to help local business owners improve their online presence. Holten worked to have businesses listed on the local Chamber of Commerce’s website.
MICHAEL LINDGREN AND ZAK THREADGILL
Michael Lindgren ’14 and Zak Threadgill ’15 worked together to create an analysis of Lac qui Parle County’s (LqP) technology education project, the LqP Computer Commuter system. Lindgren and Threadgill assisted the county’s economic development administration review the system’s role in promoting computer and internet literacy throughout the community.
Jordan Wente ’15 is working with CST, Kandiyohi County, and Renville County to compile a comprehensive health narrative. This narrative will explore issues related to various health factors in the region, including demographic and economic factors. The final product will be used to help improve community health outcomes.
Patrick Malone ’14 helped Hoffman’s Economic Development Coordinator Muriel Krusemark develop new internet-centered strategies for the city. Krusemark is using the internet to revitalize the city’s website and to help underemployed citizens make a living.