Uniting UND and Grand Forks
University of North Dakota
As discussions around campus focus on the University’s need to offer opportunities for partnerships, collaboration, and to expand UND’s presence, there is one more person on board to help turn those discussions into actions. Amanda Bentow is the University’s Community Relations Officer, focusing on outreach and connections between UND and the greater Grand Forks region.
“I’m finding day to day projects that make a difference,” said Bentow. “We need someone whose only job it is to focus on the relationship between UND and the community. There are many who are already doing work that connects the campus and community, but that is in addition to the many other things their positions entail. Since I am zeroing in on this particular role, I can help take what those others have already done and advance it.”
She describes her role as one of connecting dots rather than owning them, which should be a natural fit for the UND alumna who has worked on campus since she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2004. Bentow’s most recent position was as Director of Wellness Operations for Health and Wellness. She was also instrumental in the initiative to fund the Wellness Center when she was student body vice president in the 2003-2004 school year (then Amanda Anderson).
"I am very pleased that Amanda Bentow has agreed to serve as our first Community Relations Officer, a part-time position designed to help the University of North Dakota better connect with various community-based organizations,” said University of North Dakota President Robert O. Kelley.
This is a brand new opportunity for UND, although it is similar to what other area businesses have invested in over the years. As Bentow begins to put her stamp on the position, she’s starting with research.
“Right now I’m setting up all my investigative meetings with people across campus and Grand Forks to learn more about where we are,” said Bentow. “I’m starting by meeting with UND’s Center for Community Engagement, Hal Gershman with the City Council, Dr. Robert Boyd for his years of experience as Vice President of Student Affairs and his volunteer work with The Chamber, Student Government, and UND’s marketing committee.”
One connection she also has in her pocket is to Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals. Bentow is currently serving as the organization’s president. She has been instrumental in the strides the group has recently made, including securing a $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation and getting corporate support for a fulltime executive director position.
“Amanda's work with the Grand Forks Young Professionals organization as well as the UND Wellness Center makes her an ideal fit for this position," said President Kelley.
Bentow will be in and around the community daily, and as she says, “If you see me out in the community, don’t be afraid to say hi.”
University of North Dakota. "Uniting UND and Grand Forks" (2011). UND News Archive. 53.