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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

An educator walking with two emerging leaders in a community

Greater Minnesota’s communities respond to calls for racial understanding

How does a community become more welcoming for everyone? Learn some reasons to create change and read stories from communities that are taking action to be more inclusive.

Laugh and make the world a better place

Laugh and make the world a better place

[video] How many times have you laughed today? Watch and explore how laughter is good for your wellbeing and your community.

A Minnesota State Fair grounds sign reads 'Hang in there Minnesota'

Festivals and events during a pandemic

[podcast] Festivals and events around the state and country have seen many changes in 2020. Listen as we discuss how organizers and community members can weather the storm.

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)

[video] How do you foster creativity and innovation in you and your community? Learn about the importance of playfulness.

[podcast] The tourism industry has been impacted by the pandemic. Listen as we discuss the state of Minnesota’s tourism sector and how they are looking towards recovery.

The year 2013 brought improved economic news to much of Minnesota, but a few towns took some hard knocks. Crises like these create tough times in local economies.

[video] How can drinking a hot beverage change how you think about others? Learn about research done on how hot drinks can build trust and empathy.

[video] Is there a connection between being an introvert or extrovert and your happiness? Watch and learn more about research on extrovert behavior and positive well-being.

[video] Do your questions lead to change? Learn about appreciative inquiry and how your questions have the power to navigate change.

Think you don't live in a tourist town? Think again. Every town has visitors. Most visitors spend money that helps the local economy, similar to tourists.

[video] Have you ever said something that you later regret? Get ideas on recognizing and controlling how you respond emotionally.

University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality educators Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme share positive psychology research to help you live and lead with intention.

[video] Do you celebrate your small accomplishments? Watch and learn about how our brains are wired to respond to rewards and the benefits of celebrating the small stuff.

[video] How do positive emotions help you? Listen and learn how experiencing positive emotions helps with your creativity and resilience both now and in the future.

[podcast] Communities are getting creative in how they work to understand and address child care shortages. Hear Greg Wagner from the West Central Initiative as he shares steps they are taking to increase child care capacity.

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