University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Community Engagement to hold ‘sustainable communities’ forum in Warren, Minn., April 27

A regional Community Connect Forum will be held Saturday, April 27, in Warren, Minn., featuring a tribal chairman, a specialist on renewable energy and a foundation economist.

As part of the community forum, a panel comprising Floyd Jourdain, Jr., head of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa; Kim Christianson, secretary/treasurer of the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy; and Nate Dorr, program officer for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, will address civic, environmental and economic sustainability. The panel will launch the overall Community Connect forum in the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo School in Warren.

The theme of the panel discussion is “The Pillars of Sustainability,” and will be moderated by Soizik Laguette, chair of the Department of Earth Systems Science and Policy.

The Community Connect Forum is coordinated by the Center for Community Engagement. Free transportation will be  available for UND participants on the day of the forum to travel to Warren. The bus will leave the Memorial Union at 8 a.m. Warren is about 30 miles northeast of Grand Forks.

The forum will address topics such as smart government, new business ownership models and changes in agriculture and energy.

As host of the forum, Warren will have the opportunity to showcase its own town story and its efforts toward creating more sustainable practices in the community, such as becoming a “Green Step City.”

Warren also will highlight its unique downtown businesses and nearby Audubon wildlife preserve.  Participants will have the opportunity to network and view exhibits of different regional projects, agencies and resources.

Registration for the forum is free, and can be found at http://communityengagement.und.edu.  The website also includes a schedule for the day of the forum.

About the speakers:

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr., has extensive experience in the struggles of sustaining a community. He has worked to decrease crime, increase membership, improve health and elder care, encourage education and foster small businesses as well as entrepreneurship within the Red Lake Reservation. Jourdain is working to reform the Band’s 1958 constitution to bring it up to date and strengthen tribal sovereignty.

Kim Christianson has worked for many years on programs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. He previously served as the director of the Great Plains Energy Corridor office at Bismarck State College. This office was created to showcase North Dakota’s energy resource development potential. Christianson has also worked with the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Nate Dorr works on grant programs and partnership projects for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy and has previously worked as a regional economist for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Dorr has a background in private, public and non-profit sectors. He believes partnerships and ventures with shared benefits are critical to the region.

About Community Connect:

The Community Connect project provides opportunities for rural communities to work together with faculty and students on the challenges and opportunities in our region. There are three components to the Community Connect project – a community-university forum, a print journal and a website with an online academic journal.

About the Center:

The Center for Community Engagement links academic resources with community needs by connecting students and faculty to teaching and research projects off campus. It was created by an act of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education in 2004. The Center serves as a catalyst for faculty and students to learn from and with nonprofit organizations, rural communities, tribal communities and other public partners through local and regional initiatives.

About the sponsors:

The Community Connect project is supported in part by a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation and sponsorships from the United Valley Bank, the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, the Farmers Union Insurance and private donations.

For more information, contact Lana Rakow, professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, 777.2287, lana.rakow@UND.edu.

-- David L. Dodds, media relations/writer and editor, University Relations, 777.5529, david.dodds@UND.edu.


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