Community Engagement

Meet with your department
advisor to learn more about
outreach opportunities.

Geography faculty, students, and staff are involved in a variety of outreach activities. These activities involve teaching, research, public service, and they have a variety of benefits. The public learns more about what the University community does and how it can benefit them, students learn to apply what they learn to real-world problems and issues, and faculty can use their research to help society tackle social, environmental, and other problems at various scales. Undergraduate and graduate students also have the opportunity to incorporate outreach activities into their undergraduate senior projects and graduate research projects.

HECUA Programs

The University of Minnesota is a member of Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), which provides study semesters in Oslo, South America, and the Twin Cities. Geography and BSE majors may use some HECUA credits to fulfill major requirements. Urban studies, BSE, and geography students have participated in the following HECUA programs for major credit. Students must meet with their major advisor while planning their HECUA semester to be eligible for major credit.


Partake in interesting and fulfilling volunteer work related to your personal commitments and career goals. Our students volunteer with a wide array of community organizations; for example, building homes with Habitats for Humanity, working as a member of a family’s care team at the nearby Ronald McDonald House, working with the next generation of college students in after-school programs, planting trees, caring for shelter animals, and more. If you plan to complete at least 400 hours of work with the community, consider joining the Community Engagement Scholars program.

The Scholars Program offers:

  • A way to get official University of Minnesota recognition for integrating community work into your education
  • A space to reflect meaningfully with other students about your work and the social issues that you care about
  • Resources, support, and structure to help you make a significant contribution to the off-campus community

Wild Rockies Field Institute

BSE and geography students can earn major credit for one to three of their elective courses through the Wild Rockies Field Institute, which is led by faculty trained in ecology, environmental studies, forestry, geography, Native American studies, and/or resource conservation. This immersive experience combines academic and experiential learning while hiking, cycling, and camping in “the wild.”  Choose from full semester and summer programs in the Rockies (3-15 credits). Each year they offer different courses. A sample includes their environmental ethics summer course “Climate Change & Visions of a Sustainable Future” (3 credits), full semester courses including, “Colorado Plateau: Desert Canyons and Culture” and “Montana Afoot & Afloat: Human/Land Relations,” and many 3-12 credit summer courses.