MINNEAPOLIS (May 4, 2010) – The University of Minnesota and the residents of North Minneapolis will celebrate the opening of a first-of-its kind collaborative facility that serves the needs of urban communities. The Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center holds its grand opening May 12, from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at 2001 Plymouth Avenue N., Minneapolis.
As one of the very few land-grant research universities located in an urban setting in the United States, the University of Minnesota has placed a priority on discovering solutions to the many complex issues facing urban communities. The first major step in this initiative is the establishment of UROC, housed in a renovated building in North Minneapolis in the heart of a highly diverse community.
UROC is currently home to 12 university programs that are committed to pursuing research and outreach in an authentic and fully-engaged partnership with individuals and organizations in the Northside communities.
“The University of Minnesota is committed to developing strategic, sustainable partnerships with urban communities, residents and governments, leading to positive, measurable outcomes with significant impact toward improving lives and stimulating economic growth,” says university Senior Vice President Robert Jones.
The event is free and open to the public and will include building tours, refreshments, an art exhibit by Fawzia Kahn and Lynn Fellman, a youth choir performance by CitySongs and brief remarks by University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chair Clyde Allen, U of M President Robert Bruininks and several community and government leaders who have been instrumental in making the partnership a reality. Jones will host the event that includes welcome festivities at 3:30 p.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and short program at 4:00 p.m.
Ora Hokes, a long-time Northside resident who participated in all of the early meetings that led to UROC’s formation, says UROC is a fulfillment of the community’s vision.
“When I look at the end product, UROC, and think about all the community requested of the university – it’s all there,” said Hokes. “The U says, ‘We’re going to walk with you.’ So we’re seeing programs at UROC that help young parents learn to feed their kids healthy meals and that help our young entrepreneurs get a solid start. The U listened to us and the U heard us.”
The event will provide an opportunity for guests to talk with community partners and university faculty and staff about the many research, outreach and education programs in the facility that are designed to address key issues such as health and nutrition, education, the arts, and community and economic development. These programs are highlighted at www.uroc.umn.edu/programs.