Partner with SCP

The Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) provides creative approaches to move city sustainability goals forward. Cities often face limited resources to investigate sustainability and quality of life issues. SCP seeks to reduce those barriers by linking existing graduate and undergraduate courses at St. Thomas to investigate city-identified projects. 

St. Thomas students are equipped to investigate a wide range of sustainability and quality of life issues covering social, economic, and environmental topics through St. Thomas' graduate programs in business, law, education, public policy, social work, and engineering as well as undergraduate degrees in the natural and social sciences and humanities. Partner communities benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration with faculty experts across disciplines and hundreds of hours of faculty-directed student work on partner-identified projects.

We are accepting partnership proposals for the 2019-2020 academic year.

How can your city participate?

This is not a commitment to participate.  We will meet with you to talk more about how the partnership works and to brainstorm potential projects that will benefit your city. Contact Maria Dahmus, OSI Assistant Director, at 651-962-6391 or to set up a meeting.

Outline project ideas.  (See example projects here.)  SCP offers a flexible partnership model, collaborating on as few as 1 project to as many as 8 projects per semester. We ask that you identify additional project possibilities beyond your desired number of projects to facilitate project matching with courses.

You are encouraged to meet with us as you develop your project outlines to ensure the best match between partner project goals and capacity of St. Thomas faculty and courses.

For each project, address the following:

  1. Description of Project: (1-2 paragraphs, purpose and scope)
  2. Questions/Issues to Address: (1-3 well-defined questions)
  3. Intended Use of Results: (1 paragraph description)
  4. Specific Sustainability or Quality of Life Impacts: (1 paragraph description)
  5. City Project Lead: (name, position, contact information)
  6. Stakeholders and Partners: (as applicable, not required)
  7. Existing documents: (documents and sources of available data to inform project)

Please also include any relevant city plans, e.g., sustainability, land use, energy, as available, that describe and inform your city's sustainability goals.

Please email proposals to Maria Dahmus,  After reviewing your proposal, we will contact you to discuss moving forward with a partnership.

City and SCP Responsibilities

The city partner identifies a city staff member who will serve as the partnership lead.  The partnership lead will:

  1. Be the primary contact for SCP;
  2. Work with SCP to oversee projects – the city partnership lead should know the staff involved in each project and understand each project’s scope and status;
  3. Serve as a champion for the partnership to the city.

For each project, the city partnership lead also identifies a city staff project lead.  The project lead will:

  1. Be the primary point of contact for that project;
  2. Work with SCP and the course instructor to finalize project scope to advance partner goals and course learning objectives;
  3. Provide available data for project completion;
  4. Provide access to field sites (as applicable);
  5. Communicate with class throughout the semester to inform and assess project by:
    • Providing a project orientation to class at the beginning of the semester;
    • Attending mid-project presentation to provide project feedback;
    • Attending final presentation at the end of the semester (or arranging a city audience for final presentation);
    • Being responsive to questions throughout the semester.

The partnership lead can also serve as a project lead. In some cases, the partnership lead may be the project lead on all or most of the projects.

City partner will provide funds for project materials necessary to complete project (e.g., materials necessary for building a prototype).

SCP responsibilities include:

  1. Consultation with partners on project development;
  2. Arranging and facilitating project scoping;
  3. Drafting project scopes for matched courses;
  4. Providing curriculum development consultation to faculty;
  5. Ensuring courses have necessary data from city (as applicable) and city receives project deliverables;
  6. Maintaining a partnership website;
  7. Providing logistical support to courses;
  8. Problem-solving and trouble-shooting throughout partnership.