Resilient Iowa Communities (RIC)

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Resilient Iowa Communities

The Resilient Iowa Communities (RIC) program is a voluntary assistance and recognition program to help Iowan communities of all sizes achieve their sustainability and quality of life goals. This free, continuous program is run through the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental education and was created in collaboration with staff from seven Iowa communities, both large and small, two Iowa counties, the Iowa League of Cities, staff from Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Energy Center, non-profit partners 1000 Friends of Iowa, the Iowa Environmental Council, the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa, and Des Moines Area MPO. These diverse perspectives helped to create a program that simultaneously provides structure and flexibility, honoring each community’s diverse circumstances while standardizing different goals.

Thank you for your interest in the RIC program! We look forward to working with your community.

RIC Best Practices

The RIC program allows communities to choose actions from five categories of best practices: buildings & lighting, land use, transportation, environmental management, and community & economic development. Each best practice category offers six different actions, allowing communities to prioritize the actions most useful to them. See detailed RIC Best Practices here.

Please note that a community does not need to complete all the best practices in a category to receive recognition. Further, communities get credit for actions they have already taken. Bronze tier recognition comes from completing one best practice action per category, while silver tier recognition requires two best practice actions per category. A gold tier will be created in the future. We recognize that some of these best practices cannot feasibly be completed in a year, and so communities will also receive recognition if they can provide proof of taking meaningful steps to complete a best practice. As the program develops, the CEEE hopes to expand the best practices further, guided in part by input from participating communities.

Communities are not expected to undertake these actions on their own. One of the key parts of the RIC program is connecting communities to outside resources. This could vary from peer-to-peer knowledge sharing with other communities to assistance from the Green Iowa AmeriCorps program where possible. Further, communities do not commit to spending any money when they join RIC, but if they wish to undertake projects that incur expenses, the CEEE will be happy to assist them in looking for grant opportunities.

Joining RIC

Joining the program simply requires a community to pass a resolution affirming their desire to join the RIC program and to choose a point person to act as a liaison between the community and the CEEE.

You can access a template ordinance here to understand what communities are committing to with RIC. Using this template is not required; your community can edit it as they see fit.

  • Cassie Sonne
    Cassandra Sonne
    Energy Program Manager

    Cassandra Sonne oversees the Resilient Iowa Communities program at CEEE and assists communities with greenhouse gas inventories and climate action planning. Her background and degrees are in environmental policy, communication, and governance.

    AT THE CEEE: Community Energy & Climate Action / UNI Conservation Corps
    ON FACEBOOK: Center for Energy & Environmental Education

CEEE In Action
Engaging students in the community