News Release

Rural Design Conference to be held July 30-31, 2014, on the U of M Crookston Campus

By ltollefs on
Monday, June 23, 2014

The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDPs) will host the Rural Design Conference at the U of M Crookston Campus on Wednesday and Thursday, July 30 and 31, 2014.  This Rural Design Conference event will bring together people from many different disciplines to lift up design and design thinking as essential parts of planning and development for rural economic prosperity. It will emphasize the connections, interactions, and inter-dependencies between rural and urban people and places. The event will be held at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) from the evening of Wednesday, July 30, 2014, through the afternoon of Thursday, July 31st, 2014.   

Registration is available online at In-person registration for the conference opens Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at 4 p.m. and Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 a.m. in Bede Ballroom in Sargent Student Center at UMC. The registration fee is $50 and will go to $60 after July 7, 2014.  A reception and light dinner will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The program begins at 7 p.m. with opening remarks by Dean Beverly Durgan (University of Minnesota Extension) and a keynote address by Dean Thomas Fisher (University of Minnesota College of Design).

Beverly Durgan (in photo, right) is dean of U of M Extension. Durgan conducts research and provides 


leadership for extension programs in small grain weed management systems. She also teaches one undergraduate course every other fall semester. She earned her bachelor's degree in agriculture business from Montana State University in 1981, her master's in agronomy/weed science from North Dakota State University in 1983 and her doctorate in agronomy/weed science from NDSU in 1985.  Thomas Fisher (in photo, left, below) is a professor of 


architecture and Dean of the College of Design. Fisher received his education at Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history. He has lectured or juried at over 40 schools and 60 professional societies, and has published 35 book chapters or introductions and over 250 articles.

On Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the conference continues with plenary session in the morning and design workshop in the afternoon. Workshop topics include nature-based recreation and tourism, food systems and role of Extension in the future of our communities.

On Wednesday, July 30 from 1:00-4:00 pm, attendees can take part in a tour of regional activities, including paddling on the Red Lake River, learning about birds and flood mitigation in Warren, and learning about fruit trees and high tunnels in Mentor. Space is limited depending on the tour, please register ahead of time to secure your spot. On Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the conference continues with panel discussions in morning and design workshops in the afternoon. Workshop topics include nature-based recreation and tourism, food systems and role of extension in the future of our communities.

The conference is sponsored by The University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, a part of UMN Extension; the UMN Center for Rural Design; University of Minnesota Crookston; the EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention. 

For more information contact Linda Kingery at 218-281-8697.

To learn more about the work of the Northwest Regional Partnership go to  

The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDPs) give communities in Greater Minnesota access to the University of Minnesota in order to help solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities. As a part of University of Minnesota Extension, NW RSDP brings together local talent and resources with University of Minnesota knowledge and seed funding to drive sustainability in four areas: agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.

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