City of Big Lake

Costs and Benefits of Going Paperless (Operations Management)

Service Operations Management (OPMT 360), Sheneeta White
Fall 2017 

Many cities have converted from a paper filing and storage system to an all electronic system. This is not only an environmentally friendlier option but it also can save a city money on printing costs and can save file storage space.  Furthermore, electronic files are much easier to navigate and can lead to productivity increases for staff members if there is not a frequent need to dig through paper files. The City of Big Lake currently uses an all-paper system for files but is interested in converting to an all electronic file storage system. Students will examine the process of converting to an electronic file storage system and create a flow chart identifying and explaining the components necessary for an efficient system conversion process. In addition, they will examine the costs and benefits of converting to an electronic file storage system, including payback times for going paperless, and students will examine case studies of other cities that have made the switch.  Students will integrate these findings to create a set of recommended steps for the City of Big Lake to convert to an all-electronic file storage system.

Designing Parks for Experiential Engagement (Engineering)

The City of Big Lake has several parks with aging playground equipment that needs to be repaired or refreshed as well as new parks that are being developed.  The City is interested in exploring alternative designs for these parks by asking the question --  is there a way to create a better park experience?  Students will create design ideas for a natural playground for the City of Big Lake’s River Oaks Park in collaboration with preschoolers at the University of St. Thomas Child Development Center

Course details coming in October!

Marketing the Northstar Village and Big Lake Marketplace (MBA Program)

Marketing Management (MBA), Avinash Malshe
Fall 2017

MBA Marketing Management students will conduct marketing research with the City of Big Lake.

The City of Big Lake developed plans for a transit-oriented development at the Northstar Commuter Rail Line stop in Big Lake, with the goal of supporting an office park, businesses, and apartment buildings. However, it is not growing as they hoped it would. Currently, there are apartment buildings but no businesses.  They are interested in a market study of this area and recommendations about how to attract development to this area, particularly considering the limited number of trains serving this stop on weekdays and the lack of service on weekends.  The City would like to examine whether the original vision for this area is feasible in terms of market demand, and if not, what the market could support in this area. 

The City of Big Lake also developed the Big Lake Marketplace in 2004, envisioned as a commercial and industrial area.  However, the area is not as attractive to developers as they had hoped.  Students will analyze this situation and create a marketing plan for the Big Lake Marketplace.


Metropolitan Council

Community Climate Change Conversations (ENGL 315)

Environmental Writing and Community Outreach (ENGL 315)Salvatore Pane
Fall 2017

The Local Planning Assistance work unit at the Metropolitan Council provides technical assistance to communities that are currently drafting their 2040 Comprehensive Plan Updates as required by state statute. Many communities are considering integrating sustainability and resilience planning related to climate change in their Comprehensive Plan. The Metropolitan Council is interested in engaging cities in conversations about community views on climate change to better understand perspectives on climate change and also to inform the inclusion of climate resiliency in a city’s vision section of their Comprehensive Plan.  Students will conduct climate conversations with a selected city and synthesize these conversations into themes that can be provided to the city to integrate into their vision section of their comprehensive plan.  Students will also write about their experiences of these community conversations to offer a guide for the Metropolitan Council and cities who would like to engage in similar community conversations about climate change.   

Earth’s Record of Climate in Twin Cities Lakes (GEOL 462)

Earth's Record of Climate (GEOL 462)Carolyn Dykoski
Fall 2017

The Local Planning Assistance work unit at the Metropolitan Council provides technical assistance to communities that are currently drafting their 2040 Comprehensive Plan updates as required by state statute. The Metropolitan Council is encouraging cities to include a chapter on planning for climate resiliency in their Comprehensive Plan.  As part of this effort, materials that explain climate science both to city staff and the general public would be useful.  Students will develop fact sheets about climate research methods for city staff and/or the general public, focusing on what Twin Cities lake core samples tell us about changes in climate in the area over time and why this information is important for climate resiliency planning.  Currently cities have state-level data available to them, but student-developed fact sheets about Twin Cities metro lakes would bring this climate science to a local level. 

GIS Projects (GEOG 321)

Geographic Info Systems (GEOG 321), David Kelley
Fall 2017

Students will work with the Metropolitan Council on climate vulnerability and resiliency story maps of the Metro area and examine flood and heat data layers in the area.  Project details coming in October!


Metro Transit

Strategic Communications to Promote Transit Lines to College Students (COJO 344)

Writing for Strategic Communication (COJO 344), Craig Bryan
Fall 2017

Decisions college students make about transportation in college often serve as a foundation for future transportation choices.  Therefore, Metro Transit is interested in promoting public transit to college students to encourage ridership during college years.  Students in Writing for Strategic Communication will create a strategic communication plan and materials (e.g., videos, flyers) to promote a particular Metro Transit bus, BRT, or light rail line to college students.

Transit Surveys (MKTG 340)

Marketing Research (MKTG 340)David Harman
Fall 2017

Decisions college students make about transportation in college often serve as a foundation for future transportation choices.  Therefore, Metro Transit is interested in understanding college students’ transportation choices and promoting public transit to college students.  Through survey research, student teams in Marketing Research will develop a survey about transportation choices to administer to college students.  Students will develop survey questions in collaboration with Metro Transit.  Topics may include students’ current transportation choices, perceptions of public transit, and factors that may encourage students to change their modes of transportation.  The survey developed by students will serve as a pilot that Metro Transit can use to inform their broader survey efforts.


Mississippi Watershed Management Organization

River Stories Exhibit: The Mississippi River and Ideas of Sanctuary (ENGL 121)

Critical Thinking: Lit/Writing (ENGL 121)Michael Raimondi
Fall 2017

The Mississippi River Watershed Management Organization’s (MWMO) education and outreach program seeks to “provide information, services and products to promote responsible stewardship of water and natural resources by the watershed community.”  As part of this goal, the MWMO seeks to promote community connections with and understanding of the Mississippi River system. The MWMO’s building serves as a learning center. In addition to permanent installations of stormwater best management practices and green infrastructure that promote water quality, the building has an exhibit space where they host art/writing installations about water and the river. Exhibits are created by local artists with the goal of fostering community connections with and understandings of the river and to engage the community in actions to promote river health.

English 121 students, in partnership with 6th grade students from College Prep Elementary, Saint Paul, will create an interactive exhibit (e.g., written pieces or other forms of artwork) that engage people around the concepts of river stories and sanctuary.  College and elementary students will present their exhibit to family and friends at the MWMO to advance the MWMO’s goal of engaging people from diverse communities with the Mississippi River and fostering deeper understandings of and connections with the river.


PLACE

Affordable Living (ECON 337)

Economics of the Public Sector (ECON 337), Matthew Kim
Fall 2017

Project details coming in September!


University of St. Thomas Pollinator Path

Developing Content for the University of St. Thomas Pollinator Path (SPAN 211)

Intermediate Spanish I‌ (SPAN 211)Susana Perez Castillejo
Fall 2017

The Sustainable Communities Partnership is partnering with the Department of Biology's Pollinator Path to add multi-disciplinary and community educational value to the pollinator path. Students in Theology 101 and Spanish 211 (paired courses) will develop content for the Pollinator Path; this project work will also provide a framework for discussion and practice of the courses’ learning objectives.  Spanish 211 students will provide basic translation of key directions and actions related to exploring and understanding the Pollinator Path.  Translated content will be included on the Pollinator Path website.

Developing Content for the University of St. Thomas Pollinator Path (THEO 101)

The Christian Theological Tradition (THEO 101), Angela Senander
Fall 2017

The Sustainable Communities Partnership is partnering with the Department of Biology's Pollinator Path to add multi-disciplinary and community educational value to the pollinator pathStudents in Theology 101 and Spanish 211 (paired courses) will develop content for the Pollinator Path; this project work will also provide a framework for discussion and practice of the courses’ learning objectives.  Theology 101 students will identify quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, that interpret the Pollinator Path as an expression of care for creation from Catholic social teaching.  Encyclical quotes will be included on the Pollinator Path website.


Sustainability and Art Collaborations

The Sustainable Communities Partnership is launching a new initiative to link courses with sustainability public art endeavors.  Our first collaboration is with AirBooth.

About AirBooth

AirBooth is a digitally connected interactive sculpture which combines Art and Science to communicate air quality data in a compelling way.  It is a data visceralization project using both physical and virtual elements. It collects air quality data from around the world in real time, and processes it into sounds and images. The purpose of the AirBooth is to stimulate an emotional response and promote thought about air quality. The final product is intended to be exhibited in a public setting, such as a science museum or art gallery, with the potential to travel around the country, or have multiple AirBooths installed around the world. When you step into the AirBooth and pull up the AirBooth.net website on a smartphone, you take control of the booth. Real-time air quality data is translated into both visual and aural representations, engaging the user in a visceral way. This is designed to prompt contemplation and provide an opportunity for deeper engagement.

Courses at the University of St. Thomas are collaborating with AirBooth creators to improve the design and function of the AirBooth.

AirBooth - Creating a Pre-production AirBooth Model (Engineering Senior Design)

Engineering Senior Design Clinic
Fall 2017

The AirBooth collects air quality data from around the word in real time, and processes it into sounds and images. The sounds are played in the AirBooth and the user controls the booth’s ‘location’ and sees the visual representation through the smartphone app. The AirBooth has three components: 1) the physical AirBooth 2) the webapp and backend, and 3) the Arduino interface between components 1 and 2.

Engineering Senior Design students will take the current proof-of- concept prototype and develop it to a working pre-production model capable of generating sound using air (rather than using speakers), with minimal energy usage, and a human powered element.  Students will also consider the design aesthetic of the final piece. 

AirBooth - Writing and Design for the AirBooth Website (COJO 258)

Writing/Designing for the Web (COJO 258), John Keston
Fall 2017

The vision is for the AirBooth to be a gateway to further information and exploration about air quality.  COJO 258 students will provide first level curated web information that leads the user to further information elsewhere. Students will write and design content for the AirBooth website in a responsive web format capable of integration with the current AirBooth web app.