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Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Vital Connections

Learn more about topics important to Minnesota communities through articles, videos and podcasts. Find stories and information to help you get engaged in your community. Help others better know, decide and act.

Community features

A person leading an online meeting

Four tips for leading online meetings

Do you feel comfortable leading an online meeting? Learn four tips for a more effective online meeting that will help you grow your skills and confidence.

Person smiling while reading a book

Exploring emotions during a pandemic

[podcast] You may be dealing with new emotions as we transition to more social lives and lose daily patterns and routines. Listen as we discuss strategies to help overcome uncertainty.

Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme on gratitude

Enrich your gratitude

[video] How do you thank others? Learn about a technique to hone your gratitude skills to increase your well-being.

All articles, podcasts and videos

Find content on topics that include:

  • Community development (e.g. attracting new residents, evaluating programs and local foods)
  • Community economics (e.g. local economies, retail, retaining businesses and workforce)
  • Leadership and civic engagement (e.g. assessing and developing leaders, facilitation, building trust and engaging communities)
  • Tourism development (e.g. learning about visitors and planning festivals and events)

Like most American institutions, the rural grocery store is facing change. Read about an Extension study of the future of rural groceries and how communities can help.

Before a community event is a success or an economic development strategy is implemented, a community meeting takes place — or more likely, a bunch of meetings.

[video] Are you willing to try something new and fail fast? Learn about building confidence by failing fast.

[podcast] How can you make your community more appealing to others? Hear how conversations in Campbell, Minnesota led to big community changes in appearance and pride.

[video] Can smiling help you through a difficult situation? Learn about the science of how grinning and bearing it can reduce stress.

[video] Do you ever wonder what is your life’s purpose? Learn about a model to help you uncover your purpose and find more meaning in life.

[podcast] What does being an involved citizen mean? It isn't always about running for office. Hear from community members who helped protect and promote a hidden nature spot in Woodbury, Minnesota.

If community groups are to find good answers, it is important they ask the right questions. That's why asking questions is a leadership skill worth studying.

[video] What makes something interesting? Discover two elements that make us interested or not.

[video] How do you handle being rejected by others? Learn about rejection and small actions that can help lessen the pain.

What do you do for fun around here? When visitors come to your town, replies to this question can make or break their impression of your community.

The last full-service grocery store in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood closed more than 30 years ago, leaving residents stranded in a "food desert."

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