John Tolley, December 2, 2016

Ask someone about Minnesota, and they?ll probably mention the ripping cold winters of the northern plains. But ask us, and we think of the warmth of the North Star State. It?s a warmth of people and spirit that inspires Minnesotans to take a look at the world around them and ask, ?How am I going to make this a better place for generations to come??

Nowhere is that warmth more apparent than at the University of Minnesota. Among the most vibrant institutions of higher education in the nation, UMN is a research leader dedicated to shaping the future at both a local and global level. From healthy neighborhoods to healthy hearts to healthy crops, the Golden Gophers are shining examples of the good of giving back.

Join us as we take a look at our favorite University of Minnesota vignettes of 2016.


Golden Gophers team up with heart patients for a day to remember: BTN LiveBIG

?Being with these kids for a full day has been really impactful,? said Milica McMillen, a senior on Minnesota?s women?s hockey team. ?They still have these positive attitudes and smiles on their face, [and] it?s really inspiring and impactful as a student-athlete.?


Minnesota's Raptor Center helps birds of prey reach new heights: BTN LiveBIG

The bald eagle slowly and deliberately spread its wings as it leapt into the sky. Mustering all of its returning strength, the majestic bird began the slow rise that marked its return to nature - a return that only a few months prior was no guarantee.

But thanks to the work of the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, this bird - a symbol of the freedom America holds dear - once again ?slipped the surly bonds of earth? to patrol the northern skies.


For a Minnesota grad student, home is where his art is: BTN LiveBIG

As the old saying goes, ?Home is where the heart is? ? but in today?s globalized, virtual world, is that still true? Do our ties to the communities we live in still run deep, and are they worth nurturing?

For Jonathan Oppenheimer, a Master?s student pursuing a dual degree in social work and public policy at the University Of Minnesota Humphrey School Of Public Affairs, the answer is a resounding ?Yes!?


How Minnesota is cultivating the crops of tomorrow: BTN LiveBIG

 To combat the myriad problems of the near monoculture of Midwestern farming, the University of Minnesota has launched the Forever Green Initiative.

?The Forever Green Initiative deals with 15 different crops that are environmentally friendly and sustainable,? says Dr. Pam Ismail, Associate Professor of Food Science at Minnesota.