St. Croix Institute

St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development

The St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development has become an independent entity outside of UW-River Falls (as a future Public Benefit Corporation in Minnesota) and will be known as the St. Croix Institute (SCI). The SCI will continue with its focused work in cross sector consulting approaches that strategically assist clients in 'getting beyond sustainability' through a wide range of integrated planning, facilitation, training, research, strategy, and media services on a local, regional, & national scale. Kelly Cain has retired from UW-River Falls, and will continue in his role as Executive Director with Danette Olsen as Associate Director, and Kay Lambert as Creative Director. The SCI looks forward to ongoing collaborative initiatives with UW-River Falls faculty, students, staff, and administration to the benefit of the St. Croix watershed and beyond. The website for the St. Croix Institute is now live at UW-River Falls will continue its commitment to sustainability initiatives, including the Sustainability Fellows program, and is working with the Sustainability Working Group to shape future strategic directions. For more information about Sustainability at UWRF go to the Office Of Sustainability.

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           Risk of Irrelevance

The SCISCD is a "think and do tank" founded in May of 2007. The Institute is a "go-to" resource for every context of "Sustainability in the St. Croix River Watershed." Besides the "walk the talk" coordination service it provides to the UWRF campus community, it is the primary resource for regional, county, town, and municipal leaders seeking assistance with sustainable community development (SCD) in response to the myriad of environmental, social, and economic challenges.

Through a holistic, systems-thinking approach, Institute staff, faculty experts, student interns, and research teams from UWRF are coordinated to address the breadth and depth of sustainability-based comprehensive planning, development, and commercial opportunities that ultimately define the quality of “The River” and the quality of life on this campus, in River Falls, throughout the valley, and across the state.

If we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem, and have no business offering advice that we as a campus are not living up to. If we do not aspire to leadership, then we aspire to to mediocrity, and become increasingly irrelevant as a source of innovation in education and applied community solutions. We ultimately risk becoming irrelevant as a publicly funded institution.

Our aspirations include, but are not limited to:
• Becoming a "National Premier Model for Cash Positive - Carbon Negative, Sustainable Campus~Community Design";
• Comprehensive benchmarking of indicators and tracking of integrated data on ecologic integrity, social justice, and economic vitality;
• Achieving maximum self-sufficiency and commercial value through vertically integrated business and community models for localized food, fuels, water, shelter, clothing, transportation, native habitat, carbon sequestration, employment, and commerce; and
• Synergistic partnerships across all social contexts, from green entrepreneurship, job training and professional development, to community arts, health care, place-based experiential education, inter-governmental collaborations, faith community initiatives, and all other forms of civic engagement and cultural advancement.


UWRF Sustainability Blog