Site Visits

The Twin Cities are home to a community of richly diverse voices. In partnership with the University of St. Thomas, we’ve lined up several Site Visits to help elevate some of the community’s unique voices that are working towards the common good.

Decolonizing Re-Entry: Building a New World on the Other Side of Mass Incarceration | Thursday, April 16 | 10:30-1:15

Participants in this site visit will meet representatives from several Minnesota-based organizations working to decolonize re-entry. Their efforts focus not only on employment, housing, and rebuilding family connections. They also work to remove the barriers of shame and stigmatization by transforming individuals and communities beyond the prison. We will travel to All Square and meet representatives in their Dream Lab. We Are All Criminals will display its “Seen” installation, which will help to bring the faces and stories of community members who are currently incarcerated into the space. Conversations will help participants better understand the challenges of incarceration and re-entry as well as “changemaking for the common good” to build a new world together.

Center for Victims of Torture and New Tactics for Human Rights | Thursday, April 16 | 10:30-1:15

This site visit will take participants to the Center for Victims of Torture, a leading NGO in responding to torture internationally through rehabilitation programs and advocacy. Its program, New Tactics for Human Rights, creates unique resources organized around the analysis of potential solutions to human rights violations. These resources allow advocates to clearly recognize the unique elements of their situations and to seek promising approaches that have worked elsewhere in order to apply them to new regions or issues.

Combating Food Insecurity on Campus: Community/University Partnerships | Thursday, April 16 | 1:00-5:00

Food insecurity – lacking safe and reliable access to sufficient, nutritious food – is experienced by over 11% of the global population, 11% of Americans, and depending on the study, can affect over 50% of college students. In 2019, the University of St. Thomas launched Tommie Shelf in partnership with two local non-profits to address food insecurity both on its own campus and in the surrounding community. While these mutually beneficial partnerships with community partners support the initiative, they are also susceptible to challenges in the sustainable supply chain, such as trade between growers, corporations, and consumers. At this site visit, you will share a meal and hear about the successes and challenges in addressing food insecurity locally and globally from representatives of the participating nonprofit partners, Keystone Community Services and Brightside Produce; students who will give personal testimonials regarding their use of Tommie Shelf; food industry executives; and university administrators.

This Land Is Your Land? Dakota Sacred Sites Tour | Thursday, April 16 | 1:00-5:00

Mni Sota Makoce: The Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds. For centuries prior to the expansion of the United States westward, the Dakota people called the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers their traditional homeland. The 1862 U.S.-Dakota War led to the devastation and exile of the Dakota, sending their people to prisons and reservations out of state. Activists and community organizers have worked over the last several years to recover Dakota history in Minnesota and to make it apparent on our landscape. This site visit will enable participants to encounter the Dakota history of Minnesota through a Sacred Sites Tour led by Jim Bear Jacobs (Mohican) and Bob Klanderud (Dakota). The tour offers an opportunity to learn about Minnesota history from a Native perspective through story-telling and experiencing the sites in silence, meditation, and reflection.

The Rondo Community: Past, Present, and Future | Friday, April 17 | 10:30-1:15

During the interstate building boom of the 1950s and 1960s, planners across the United States often routed new highways straight through black, working-class neighborhoods, decimating thriving African-American communities with little political capital to resist prior to passage of the Voting Rights Act. On this site visit, discover grassroots resistance efforts that emerged when planners ran Interstate-94 directly through Rondo, a vibrant African-American neighborhood in St. Paul, despite having viable alternatives. Participants have the opportunity to engage local Rondo community leaders who continue to foster an ever-evolving, multi-cultural community while remaining committed to celebrating its vibrant African-American history.

Design and Innovation at the University of St. Thomas | Friday, April 17 | 10:30-1:15

How can universities foster innovation among students, faculty, and staff? What facilities and resources are necessary to support the next big idea? How can principles of design enable anyone to become a changemaker? This site visit will take participants to the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas to visit the create[space]—where creativity and innovation unite, the Innovation Hub—where design connects to real world challenges, and STELAR—where the classroom meets technology design. Participants will join in hands-on learning sessions at each location, highlighting processes and programs that can be recreated at other institutions.

Bike Minnesota! | Friday, April 17 | 1:30-5:00 (with an optional dinner afterward)

Despite long, cold, and icy winters, the Twin Cities can consistently boast top rankings among the best biking cities in the country. The Twin Cities regularly rank at the top of the list for percentage of bike commuters. How did this enthusiasm come about? This site visit will explore how Minneapolis specifically supports biking culturally, socially, and infrastructurally. Participants will hop on a bike provided by the Bike Alliance of Minnesota, a non-profit organization committed to making Minnesota a place where bicycling is easy, safe, and fun for everyone. At stops on the journey, you will meet with changemakers from the Twin Cities who have made this biking heaven possible and learn about how they contributed to the cultural, social, and infrastructural change necessary to support it. You will also have the opportunity to explore what still needs improvement to address sustainability, accessibility, inclusion, and safety concerns. Participants will also be invited to reflect on their own contexts. How can you make change for sustainable, accessible, inclusive, and safe modes of transportation back home?

Bridging the Gap: Changemaking for Pathways through College to Career and Community | Friday, April 17 | 1:30-5:00

Minnesota often ranks among the top states in measures of well-being. Few suspect, however, that Minnesota often reports some of the largest opportunity gaps in the country, especially in terms of access to quality education. These gaps affect all spheres of Minnesota’s communities, with educational deficits contributing to gaps in employment, health, and happiness. On this site visit, students and graduates from the University of St. Thomas’s Dougherty Family College, a two-year college program for promising students who want to obtain a four-year college degree and who face financial, academic, and social obstacles on the way to their goal, will lead participants on a tour of North Minneapolis, a community deeply impacted by opportunity gaps. Participants will visit Patrick Henry High School, a Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) anchor school that offers College Possible programming.