2017 Sustainability Progress Report
Student Engagement

Academic Programs

Through collaborations across schools, colleges and operating units, we develop innovative curricula, integrate students in research and leverage co-curricular programs for experiential learning opportunities – using U-M campuses and field sites as “living-learning laboratories.”

  • 60+ sustainability-related degrees & programs
  • 700 sustainability-related courses

Straw House: Locally sourced, student-built

Twenty-two U-M undergraduates created the first off-the-grid straw bale structure using ancient building techniques located on a hilltop overlooking Douglas Lake at the U-M Biological Station.

Led by professor, Joe Trumpey, an associate professor in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and the Program in the Environment, the project is part of the Green Building class at U-M. The students spent 31 days building the structure made of straw, adobe plaster and a metal roof. A solar array will provide for the building’s electricity needs, and basic plumbing is in place if the biological station wants to complete that installation in the future.

Architecture students engaged learning

Students in an engaged learning workshop called Practice Sessions mocked-up a design of a solar umbrella roof for a former wallpaper factory that now is a graduate art center at UCLA.  

Practice Sessions is a project funded by the university’s Third Century Initiative. U-M leadership dedicated $25 million to faculty and staff projects that promised to transform learning as the university, celebrating its bicentennial this year, defined education for its next century.

New school, new leader

Jonathan Overpeck, one of the nation’s leading experts on climate change, joined U-M in June as the inaugural dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability. SEAS grew from the former School of Natural Resources and Environment and was created to further advance the university’s global leadership in sustainability and environmental research and education. With its porous boundaries, SEAS provides leadership and works collaboratively with other schools, institutes and programs at the university to develop solutions to the most challenging global sustainability issues facing society.