Center for Small Towns Partnership
This past year the UMVRDC has worked with students from the University of Minnesota Morris, Center for Small Towns, to collect new imagery of the region in hopes of changing the negative rural narrative. One of the projects included running a Visitor for the Day Campaign where students visited communities throughout the region collecting new photos, videos, interviews and writing stories about their experiences in that community. Students also collected an inventory of new imagery by attending community events and sharing their experiences on social media and on the Prairie Waters website. All of this new content is available for governments, organizations and businesses in the region to access and download through an online sharing platform, Dropbox.
Students also collected interviews of newcomers, locals, entrepreneurs, and folks with unique stories that can relate to potential new residents looking to move to the region. Four regional promotional videos were conducted from the collected interviews and are also available to download through Dropbox.
With all of the imagery collected the students created a tourism and lifestyle slideshow for each city and county Prairie Waters member. In the Summer of 2017 UMVRDC Staff plans on meeting with each Prairie Waters member to customize their slideshow and to assist them in uploading the it to their website.
In January of 2017, a student had designated time to update Big Stone County to the Prairie Waters website. These updates included creating a webpage with the new photos and editorial for both Big Stone County and Graceville, along with updating the mapping system with all of Big Stone County’s local shops, dining, lodging and things to do. Each pinpoint on the maps includes contact information, editorial, hyperlinks and new photos. All of the community events in Big Stone County were collected and added to the regional calendar of events.
The UMVRDC is currently working with two of the same students who have been busy creating multiple different social media platforms on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram where they are running social media campaigns. Each week they choose a different city/county to showcase. The posts vary from job listings, to throw backs of historic photos, quick facts and new photos they’ve collected. This social media campaign has been a huge success thus far engaging with not only potential newcomers but also the locals.
The UMVRDC plans to work with students again this summer to collect more imagery of the region and continue these marketing efforts.