Swain Student Projects

Student-led participation in the future of climate policy solutions is at the heart of Tom Swain’s vision for the Swain Climate Policy speaker/event series. Since its launch in October 2021, the Swain Initiative, through the Humphrey School’s Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy, began providing financial support to students across the University of Minnesota five-campus system.

The projects showcase the students' commitment to addressing climate change and promoting policies that will reduce greenhouse gases. Proposals were reviewed by a University alumni panel. 

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First round of awardees

  • MN Public Interest Research Group - Duluth Campus
    Our Planet, Our Future: Environmental Summit
    Kirby Ballroom, University of Minnesota Duluth, March 17-18, 2022
    Featuring a sustainability fair, workshops, keynote speaker, and a panel discussion with prominent Midwest climate activists and educators.

  • STEM Curriculum and Instruction - Twin Cities Campus
    STEMTelling: Climate storytelling for STEM Curriculum
    University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Spring 2022
    Create climate action storytelling curriculum with UMN students studying to be science teachers to enhance students’ STEM identities and connect them to environmental and climate justice.


  • Students for Lake Superior Sustainable Farming, Duluth Campus Land Lab
    UMD (mini) Organic Farming Conference

    Kirby Ballroom, University of Minnesota Duluth, April 2022
    Featuring a student project showcase, skill-building workshops, and a “barnraising” to collaboratively explore local climate issues and solutions, culminating in a student project for the 2022 growing season.
  • MN Public Interest Research Group, Masters of Environmental Education - Duluth Campus
    Student Filmmaking using the MMAD Lab

    University of Minnesota Duluth, Spring 2022
    Empower UMD students to connect the local community with local climate change issues and collaborative solutions through filmmaking, using the “Lens on Climate Change” program as a model.
  • UMN Morris Office of Sustainability, Campus Student Association
    Water and Climate Film Festival

    Morris Theater, University of Minnesota Morris, April 2022
    Screening water and climate change documentaries and shorts, followed by a panel of experts and leaders in water management, trivia with prizes, and a networking reception.

Second round of awardees

  • Energy and Environmental Policy Club & West Bank Energy and Environment Collaborative - West Bank Campus, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, April 23
    Climate Change Challenge
    An all-day event featuring interdisciplinary workshops highlighting the importance of climate change in all aspects of working life, and an afternoon competition where teams will use their newly learned skills to tackle a real climate issue on campus.
  • Students for Climate Justice - University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus, April 2022
    Earth Month: Environmental Justice Spotlight Activities

    A five-week Environmental Justice Spotlight throughout Earth Month, including a suncatcher crafting night; a tour of the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center; an evening Zoom panel discussion of the Stop Line 3 movement; an art build and Earth Day rally; and a visit to the Native American Medicine Garden.
  • Students for Lake Superior Sustainable Farming - A partnership initiative at UMN Duluth, starting Spring 2022
    Give Bees a Chance

    A spring program featuring a series of pollinator workshops and activities to engage the UMN community  and the public to explore the impacts of climate change on pollinators; a visit to the Twin Cities campus to exchange apiary maintenance and programming expertise and explore the Heroes to Hives program; and a mushrooms and bee health training workshop in collaboration with local farmers.
  • Energy and Environmental Policy Club - Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Spring 2022
    Climate Action Breakfast Briefings

    Inspired by their experience at the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow last year, the students will emulate the news briefings given by journalists at the conference,  review the latest COP26 news and discuss its implications in the climate conversation over coffee and morning snacks. These twice-monthly panels will feature experts and journalists from the University with news updates followed by conversations and networking.
  • UMN Morris Office of Sustainability, Campus Student Association, and Office of Community Engagement - University of Minnesota Morris, April 11-29
    Earth Month Art Contest

    As part of their Earth Month focus on the Division of Humanities’ work surrounding climate change, the art contest will accompany a performance by music faculty at UMN Morris, Ann DuHamel, “Prayers for a Feverish Planet.” Entries will be displayed on campus during April.  
  • 365 Green - Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, April 2022
    Green Jobs Career Fair and Climate Activist Workshop

    The Green Jobs Career Fair will feature job opportunities working directly with climate action organizations with commitments toward a sustainable future, and opportunities to get engaged across the University. The Climate Activist Workshop will be co-hosted by several University of Minnesota student groups and is designed for students interested in direct action and climate solutions. The workshop will include keynote speakers, small group sessions led by activists, teach-ins, and networking opportunities.
  • Institute on the Environment Graduate Scholars Program - Renewable Energy Cohort, Spring 2022
    Energy Experience Center Displays and Partnership

    In partnership with Renewable Energy Partners, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Institute on the Environment, Minneapolis Climate Action, and others, the cohort will design and build several energy exhibits to be displayed at the Energy Experience Center. The exhibits are part of a larger initiative to collaborate and build working relationships between the University and community partners around Minnesota’s renewable energy transition, and to bring education, training, and career opportunities to low-income and BIPOC communities.

Thank you for your generous support that helps bring meaningful and actionable steps toward advancing climate change solutions.