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Samantha Bruno ’13 Reflects on Four Years With CST

Posted by Jayce Koester ’16, Center for Small Towns on Monday, May. 6, 2013

Samantha Bruno ’13, Foley, has spent the majority of her undergraduate career as an employee of the University of Minnesota, Morris’s Center for Small Towns (CST). A senior who will graduate in May, Bruno has finished “more [CST] projects than [she] can count on two hands” during her four years at Morris. In this semester alone she added three more projects to an already extensive list.

As a studio art major Bruno was excited to bring her artistic skill and expertise to the projects she undertook at CST. This work enabled her to use and integrate her talents while gaining practical skills that range from managing data to working in an office environment. Her experience as a CST employee has also helped her find a passion for bridging the gaps between living and thinking as an artist.

After spending summer 2012 as a full-time employee, Bruno said that “to have [CST] as part of [her] life has really helped [her] organize and stay focused.” She also emphasized what CST provides its student workers and the larger community, adding that it “benefits not only the campus community, but also the wider community.”

Bruno recalled a project she had done during her first summer with CST—how work she had done in one town was noticed by another who also requested CST’s services. Because of this interplay in communication and work, CST was able to reach out and help even more communities. The program prides itself on bringing people together, connecting students with small towns across Minnesota, and connecting those communities to the resources they need. Having witnessed this interconnectivity firsthand, Bruno believes her time at CST was important to her development not only as a student, but also as a person.

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize the Center’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Their mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.