The benefits of evolution apply to organizations just as they do species. The St. Croix Institute evolved from its origin as the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development (SCISCD) at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (UWRF) co-founded by its Director, Dr. Kelly Cain, and Chancellor Don Betz in June of 2007.
Kelly was a tenured Professor of Environmental Science & Management, from 1986 through June of 2014. Through 2006, he taught a broad array of undergraduate and graduate courses in applied sustainability theory and management, land use planning, multicultural perspectives, green business models, ecotourism, and sustainable community development.
Recruitment by a Twin Cities multi-national in 2006, led to discussions about how to maximize the sustainability-based brand of UWRF. While a strong sense of leadership in this field had been developing on the campus for several decades, it was at this moment it committed to ‘leadership or the risk of irrelevance’ in its approach, founding SCISCD as a ‘think & do tank’ and national venue for the development and implementation of leading edge sustainability values, principles, and practices.
Kelly took on dual roles as the first UWRF Director of Sustainability for campus and Director of SCISCD. Under his leadership, UWRF adopted its first Sustainable Campus Community Plan, and become the first campus in the country to adopt a ‘carbon negative’ Climate Action Plan in response to the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), among many other achievements.
Political challenges and economic opportunities in 2014 led to a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UWRF Chancellor Dean Van Galen for spinning the new St. Croix Institute (SCI) off as a private enterprise for collaborative benefit to the St. Croix region and beyond.
The St. Croix Institute LLC continues on as a full-service consulting firm for corporate, governmental, NGO’s, academic institutions, and communities; both tribal and/or non-tribal, domestic and/or international. Exemplary Clients & Projects can be found here.