University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Learning, Research, Engagement

River Life explores the processes by which riparian systems are converted to urban water systems, locating key intersections of water, community, identity, and sense of place. Our work helps our communities, both on campus and off, move toward a more sustainable, inclusive relationship between the Mississippi River and the people that depend on its long-term health.

River Life is a broadly inclusive program, open to students from any major, faculty from a host of disciplines, and community partners who are focused on river sustainability and inclusive planning. We initiate and support research projects, engage student learning both in the classroom and in co-curricular settings, as well as develop programs that reach campus and community partners.

River Atlas

Digital Media

Our work is grounded in a commitment to digital media. We are digital first- creating, sharing, and learning through a variety of digital platforms. We use social media, the River Talk blog, and digital atlases to connect the University and community with the river, and to share the stories, issues, and histories that encourage engagement and interactivity across disciplines to promote a more sustainable and inclusive river future.

Our Work

Projects and Collaboration

All of our work involves collaboration with community and University partners. As the key to the success of the entire program, partners provide case studies for research, suggest  topics for service learning projects, create interdisciplinary learning environments and opportunities, hire students in seasonal positions, and mentor the “next generation” of river leaders.

River Life’s Partners

River Life is proud to work with the following partners:

University Of Minnesota: Institute for Advanced StudyInstitute on the EnvironmentCollege of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource SciencesCollege of DesignUniversity Honors ProgramU-Spatial.

Twin Cities Community: National Park ServiceWorks ProgressMinnesota Historical Society,
St. Anthony Falls Heritage BoardMississippi River NetworkAllies: media/art.

Contact Us!
Send us a note at to make suggestions for other places we should look, media to track, and stories to tell!
River Life in Video
Come Along for a Water Walk with Kare11 and River Life, and see Gifts at Work: The Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota Foundation
Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi
A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.