2016 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

Leveraging Michigan’s breadth of expertise

U-M is pursuing major changes to its current environment and sustainability structure to strengthen its position as a leader in interdisciplinary research and education that addresses global challenges in this area.

Central to this new structure is the creation of a new school, the School for Environment and Sustainability, that addresses global sustainability challenges at the intersection of the environment and society through research, teaching and civic engagement.

In addition, strong connections will be enhanced with other key programs on campus, including the Graham Sustainability Institute, the undergraduate Program in the Environment and the Erb Institute, to amplify the campus’ impact on sustainability challenges.

Through this multi-year transition, U-M seeks to be the ‘go-to’ university for research and education in environment and sustainability.


Historic Milestone

Historic Milestone

Bio Station Begins

In 1909, the U-M Biological Station is founded on a logged-over parcel, enabling students to observe firsthand how natural resource exploitation impacts the environment.

View other historic milestones

Sustainable Living Experience

A diverse and inclusive residential community at U-M is exploring ways to enhance the culture of sustainability on campus and foster future leaders in sustainability.


70 students make up the Sustainable Living Experience

Celebrating 20 years of developing business sustainability leaders

Students at the Erb Institute receive both the MBA from the Michigan Ross School of Business and the MS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment. More than 30 courses between the two schools have been recognized as explicitly focusing on social sustainability and entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility and change management, and environmental and energy sustainability. It has been ranked the #1 MBA program in sustainability (Bloomberg Business Week, 2013) and currently has 400+ alumni in 17 countries.

10 years supporting sustainability at U-M

The Graham Sustainability Institute celebrated 10 years of supporting faculty, staff and students in the areas of research, education and campus operations.

1.7K students and faculty engaged
1.3K students and faculty funded
379 partner organizations

Transforming Sustainability Education

Funded with $2 million from the Transforming Learning in the Third Century initiative and the School of Natural Resources & Environment, Michigan Sustainability Cases strive to unpack the complexities of sustainability through more case-based, dynamic and engaged teaching and learning. The goal is to reach 200 cases by 2020.

“Wolf Wars: Should We Hunt Gray Wolves in Michigan?”

This case study provides podcasts, videos and other digital materials that explain the debate among groups that are pushing for a hunt, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Commission and various groups opposed to the idea.


Creating future sustainability leaders

The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program supports full-time graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at the university who are committed to finding interdisciplinary, actionable and meaningful sustainability solutions on local-to-global scales.

225 Dow Sustainability Fellows supported to-date
253 Students supported through Dow Distinguished Awards to-date
36 Clients served by applied sustainability projects to-date

Crow House: Developing community and skills in Detroit

Crow House is an urban settlement house model, using sustainability education and programming for community and personal development located in Detroit, Michigan. Co-created by Dow Sustainability Fellows and the community, Crow House efforts focus on service learning to teach green retrofit and permaculture skills. The result is a perennial teaching site and community center.

Among the project’s goals are: restoring a historic home in the Detroit Landscape; serving as a community resource of health, organic, sustainable fruit and produce; and
functioning as an ecology learning center for all ages.