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University of Minnesota Extension

Become a board member

What you need to know

The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) provides opportunities to work with fellow community members and University faculty and staff who are passionate about sustainability in your region.


The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) advance the environmental, economic and social sustainability of Greater Minnesota through authentic community-University partnerships that co-create innovative solutions and fulfill the University's land-grant mission.

Regional boards

RSDP conducts its work through regional governing boards. Each RSDP region (Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest) has a board composed of community volunteers and University faculty and staff. We strive to have three community board members for every University member.

Our boards are committed to building partnerships that connect the citizens of their region to local assets and the education, research and outreach resources of the University of Minnesota. These boards build partnerships in the region, connect RSDP work to regional sustainability issues, review project proposals, and make decisions about the allocation of University resources toward projects that demonstrate public purpose.

Roles and responsibilities

RSDP board members function as a team, working with local communities to identify and implement programs and projects that foster sustainable systems in our four focus areas: agriculture and food systems, resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy. The board solicits, evaluates and votes on proposals. The board coordinates and leverages the resources of the University of Minnesota and other partners, and ensures active community participation and shared decision-making.

Board members are asked to serve for three years and participate in regular board and focus area work group meetings—both in-person and by conference calls—contributing time, energy and insight to the projects. Mileage and honorarium for agreed-upon meetings and special assignments are paid by the regional RSDP through the University of Minnesota. Board membership is open to residents of Greater Minnesota and University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students.

Sean and Katherine talking while standing in front of a lake

Southwest RSDP board members Sean Yang and Kathryn Kelly


Whether you are a community volunteer or University faculty, there are many benefits to serving on an RSDP regional board.

Benefits to community members

  • Meaningful opportunities to give back to your community and region.
  • Opportunities to grow your sustainability network - in your community, across the state, and with the University.
  • Opportunities to work alongside University faculty and staff in making decisions about the allocation of University resources.

Benefits to University faculty and staff

  • Opportunities to gain a working knowledge of issues related to your research or area of work.

  • Opportunities for community-engaged research and partnership.

  • Opportunities to serve the land grant mission of the University.

  • Opportunities to grow your sustainability network - with fellow University colleagues, in local communities, and across the state.

Characteristics of RSDP board members

  • Interest in leveraging Community-University partnerships for a more resilient Greater Minnesota.

  • Active interest in community involvement that fosters economic, social and environmental sustainability.

  • Ability to work with a diverse group integrating various experiences and viewpoints.

  • Ability to work collaboratively regionally and statewide.

  • Willingness to embrace the complexity of sustainability issues.

  • Belief that community-University partnerships can work to the benefit of both researchers and communities.

  • Can function with the courage to take public/community risks.

  • Appreciation for the need of process when working in a group.

  • Comfortable in a decision-making role for projects and programs that come before the board.

  • Operates with integrity in making resource decisions.

  • Builds and calls upon a network of people within the region to advance opportunities for sustainable development.

  • Willing to contribute to board governance by maintaining and revising organization rules and structures.

Board application

Are you interested in serving on an RSDP regional board? We encourage you to apply!

If you have questions completing this form, please contact your regional Executive Director:

Central | Northeast | Northwest | Southeast | Southwest

Reviewed in 2022

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