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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

LEARN: First Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition

The First Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition offers a first of its kind conference that will bring together tribal officials, researchers, practitioners, and community members to build new partnerships, learn about innovative work being done to improve Native American nutrition, and explore ways to overcome obstacles.  The conference will feature more than thirty experts in Indigenous food, nutrition, and health.  For more information on this unique learning opportunity or to register visit the conference website at

Photo credit: flickr user Dimosthenis

Thursday, August 25, 2016

LEARN: Community Dialogue Through Art

Peace of My Mind is a multimedia art project that encourages public conversation about issues such as conflict resolution, civic responsibility, and peace.  Through the photos and stories of a diverse group of individuals we are encouraged to celebrate our common experiences and create a sense of community.  This traveling exhibit is currently at University of Minnesota Crookston and will be open to the public through August 29, 2016.  The exhibition will culminate with a keynote address by the photographer, John Noltner, along with a discussion on Monday, August 29 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.  The public is invited to attend and parking will be free during that time.  Lorna Hollowell, director of the U of M Crookston's Office of Diversity and Multicultural Programs, the exhibit, keynote address, and discussion will kick-off a year of programming designed to foster a campus and local community of peace.  To learn more about A Peace of My Mind visit their website at

Photo credit: flickr user Cem

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

University of Minnesota Extension on a Stick

It is that time of year when we start to think about corn dogs and butter heads.  That's right it is time for the Minnesota State Fair!  As you are walking around searching for the newest food on a stick, don't forget to look for the great educational opportunities that are available at the fair as well.  University of Minnesota Extension will have Educators in the Eco Experience, Agriculture - Horticulture, DNR, and U of M Buildings.  Click here to read more about Extension's busy fair schedule.

University of Minnesota Extension's presence can be seen throughout the grounds but most notably in the 4-H Building and Barns where nearly 6,000 youth who are involved in Extension's 4-H program will display their talents, exhibits, and animal herdsmanship skills to the public.  To see what is going on with 4-H at the State Fair visit their website to see schedules and download their app.

In David Letterman fashion, I am going to leave you with a top ten of #UMNonaStick things you need to check out during the Great Minnesota Get Together.  Make sure to download the UMN@TheFair app to help you plan your route and enjoy your visit.  Enjoy the fair!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Join the Center for Community Vitality Team!

The Center for Community Vitality is looking for a new team member!  We are currently seeing a half-time web production assistant to join our energetic communication team.  In this role you will work with a variety of people throughout the Center to create web content that engages stakeholders and the public to learn about the different types of work we do.  To learn more about the position visit  The Center for Community Vitality is a fun and committed group of people working to help communities choose their future.  Be part of this exciting work and apply today!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Statistics in the Community

Do you know the benefits of statistical consulting?  Statisticians have helped large businesses and organizations make decisions to guide programs and development for many years by studying trends and developing surveys that gather the right data.  This is a resource that small communities and organizations need but typically can’t afford.  The University of Minnesota Chapter of Statistics in the Community (STATCOM) can change that.  STATCOM is a student-run volunteer organization endorsed and supported by University of Minnesota’s School of Statistics.  Its mission is to provide free statistical consulting to local non-profit, governmental, and community service organizations, by engaging students in voluntary, service-oriented statistical consulting and leadership.  STATCOM will connect your group to a team of Master and PhD students or other volunteer statisticians who are mentored by professors in the School of Statistics and other departments within the University of Minnesota.  STATCOM can assist your organization or community in making better decisions with data, designing surveys or experiments that get you the information you want, evaluate the effectiveness of programs or campaigns, or learn how to maximize resources.  They have been involved with many great projects that have benefited a variety of organizations.  To learn more about how to create a partnership with STATCOM visit their website.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Data Tools for Starting Community Development Conversations in Your Community

Have you ever wanted to open a conversation about the potential development opportunities in your community, but lacked data that supports your idea? Below are a few data resources that could help trigger conversations in your community regarding its future. They are very broadly grouped into tools that can be used to start conversations about health, workforce and resident recruitment, and poverty and income issues in your community. The best way to start these conversations is to take a data point from one of these resources and ask your local elected officials if they are aware of that statistic. If they were not aware of it, the next step is to ask what could be done to increase awareness about it or address it.  If you are a public official, you can bring these data points to the attention of your fellow officials or staff to initiate conversations about the results.

The important thing to remember though is that once you start the conversation, don’t let it stop. The more people think and converse about an issue, the more likely a solution can be found. Another thing to keep in mind is that these data points can be tracked over time and used monitor progress towards envisioned change. The sources for much of this data are federal or state agencies like the U.S. Census, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, or Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. To facilitate more in-depth conversations on these topics or dig deeper into the economic effects of issues in your local community, you can also tap in to the services offered by the Community Economics Program of the University of Minnesota. Whatever your developmental idea is, we hope that the resources provided below can help it blossom into a community conversation that engages your public officials, neighbors and friends as well.

Tools for Health Conversations

(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

(University of Michigan)

Tools for Workforce, and Resident Recruitment Conversations

(Minnesota Employment and Economic Development)

(US Department of the Interior Indian Affairs)

On The Map - Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, where do people live who work in your community?)
(United States Census Bureau)

(U.S. Bancorp)

Tools for Poverty and Income Conversations

The Rural Data Portal - Taking stock of People, Poverty, and Housing In Your Community    (Housing Assistance Council)

(National Association of Counties)

(Corporation for Enterprise Development)

(Economic Innovation Group)

Thank you Rani for this great information!  Visit the Community Economics website to learn more about the important work that Rani and her colleagues are doing and how you can use them as resources in your community.  

We will be bringing more guest posts to the LCE Alumni Blog.  If there is a specific topic you are interested in please leave a comment!

Photo credit flickr DouglasDuffield

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Center For Small Towns Connects Communities to Resources

Many times communities and organizations have great ideas but need specific resources to help them move towards action.  University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) has the resources and expertise you might be looking for through their Connecting Students and Communities Program.  This program is a joint partnership between the Center for Small Towns and the UMN Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.  This program assists communities and organizations on community identified issues and projects while creating unique opportunities for University of Minnesota Morris students to engage with and contribute to small communities.   Past projects have addressed a variety of issues including housing, youth development, diversity, arts and culture just to name a few.  To read more about projects that have been completed and get ideas for your community visit the Center For Small Town Community Project Examples page.  The proposal deadline is August 15, 2016 and projects will begin in fall 2016. 

Photo credit flickr Chrissy H 

Monday, August 1, 2016

LEARN - Leading and Following Across Generations

The 2016 Leadership series is coming to a close but we are going to go out with a bang!  Our final three webinars are part of a series that will help us learn how to both lead and follow as we work with people from different generations.  The Leading and Following Across Generations series examines ways to move beyond stereotypes and potential conflict to bridge across generations which can increase creativity, problem solving, and learning.

Webinars are from 8:30 to 10:00 AM (CDT) on the following dates:
  • Friday, September 9 - Lisa Hinz will start the series by exploring the unique mindset, expectations, and work styles of each generation.
  • Friday, October 7 - Jody Horntvedt will share tips and tools for communicating and connecting across generations to create valuable collaborations that will strengthen community building efforts.
  • Friday, November 4 - Brian Fredrickson will close the series by helping participants explore ways of harnessing the strengths of each generation to lead and follow more effectively in order to maximize the most from the attitudes and skills of each generation to strengthen our communities.
Participants will receive materials to review one week prior to each session. Participants will also be guided on how to have across generational conversations that will be used in the October and November sessions.

Registration is open now through September 1 at 11:00 PM (CDT) for this exciting and informative series.  You will only need to register one time to participate in all three sessions.  Register at
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