Local Collab – Minneapolis, MN


In addition to our international projects, EWB-USA UMN is proud to partner with local organizations such as the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance and Lincoln International High School to advance projects that benefit the Twin Cities community. In the wake of the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, we resolved to expand our work right here in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The goal of this team is to focus on engineering projects that support the local community. We work with Community Engineering (CE) Corps, a division of Engineers Without Borders that focuses on projects in the United States. The team is comprised of EWB student and professional chapter members, as well as community partners.

Beacon Interfaith

We are proud to be partnered with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, a non-profit organization that aims to provide affordable, supportive, dignified housing to every person in the Twin Cities. In addition to advocating for equitable housing policy and new affordable housing developments, Beacon owns and operates 18 properties in the Twin Cities that serve low-income residents.

Our team is working with Beacon to develop and analyze energy audits for many of these properties. The energy audits will not only allow Beacon to reduce their carbon footprint, but also save money on utilities and taxes, furthering the vision that all people have a home. Our Phase 1 deliverables have been turned over to Beacon, while our Phase 2 and 3 deliverables are currently in the QA/QC process. As this project wraps up, we can proudly say we’ve been fortunate to get to work with such an impactful organization.

 If you’re interested in working on this project, you’re invited to join one of our Wednesday meetings over Zoom, or contact Liam Mullen at [email protected].

Division of Indian Work

We are very excited to announce our partnership with Division of Indian Work. DIW is a local organization that provides programs, services, and support for the Twin Cities American Indian community. This includes youth leadership development programs, support and education for American Indian parents, assistance and advocacy for youth in foster care, and health services including a food shelf that has been in operation since 1952.

DIW works primarily out of a space on Lake Street that includes a food bank, offices, and community garden. We will be working with DIW to offer improvements to this space, including:

  • Recommendations related to inconsistencies with the building’s solar array;
  • Strategies for retaining and reusing water collected from the roof; and
  • Plans to implement a compost system on the property.

Currently we are filling roles for this project and developing our Work Plan, which defines the official deliverables and scope of the project. We are currently looking to grow this team, and are especially looking for those with expertise in solar, rainwater catchment and compost! If you or someone you know is interested, feel free to join one of our Wednesday meetings over Zoom, or contact Alex Hawkins at [email protected].

Future Partners

We are always looking to grow our network of volunteers, organizations, and community partners in the Twin Cities and beyond. Whether this means a formal CE Corps project, a connection with another non-profit, or simply checking in and saying hi, we would love to connect with you!

Please reach out to Jessi Lynn (professional chapter VP of local projects) at [email protected], or Liam Mullen (student chapter Local Collab project lead) at [email protected]. We’d also love to see you at one of our Wednesday meetings at 7pm at z.umn.edu/LocalCollab.