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University of Minnesota Extension

Become a work group member

Interested in becoming an RSDP work group member?


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 and work groups

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. 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.

In addition to the board, each region has a work group in each of RSDP's four focus areas:

  • Sustainable agriculture and food systems

  • Natural resources

  • Resilient communities

  • Clean energy

Work group members play a critical role as RSDP's ambassadors in their communities. They spread the word about resources available through RSDP and encourage community members to submit Idea Briefs. Every work group has at least one liaison from the board.

Regional Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) steering committees form the energy work groups for RSDP. If you are interested in serving on a CERTs steering committee, please contact Joel Haskard, CERTs Co-Director at haska004@umn.edu or 612-625-8759.

Roles and responsibilities

Work group members work closely with community members who have a sustainability project idea and are interested in applying for support from RSDP. Work group members help prospective partners formulate and strengthen their project ideas. Work groups review Idea Briefs that are submitted in their focus area and determine which to recommend for a full Project Proposal to the board.

Work groups also set project priorities for their focus area. Annually or biannually, work groups go through an action-planning process to develop goals and priorities to guide their solicitation and review of projects.

Work group members do not have term limits unless a region has implemented its own. After serving on a work group, many members choose to apply to serve on an RSDP board.


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

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 considering innovative sustainability ideas

Benefits to University faculty and staff

  • Opportunities to gain 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 work group 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 work group

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

Work group application

Interested in serving on an RSDP regional work group? We encourage you to apply!

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

Apply to an RSDP work group today!

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Reviewed in 2021

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