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Flint, MI— The University of Michigan-Flint and the city of Flint announced a new partnership Oct.11 to combat the effects of climate change and improve sustainability in the community.
Faculty, staff, and students from UM-Flint have begun early discussions with officials to develop an environmental sustainability plan for the city.
They hope to finalize a “realistic” path forward that can be implemented in phases over the next few years, according to a press release.
“The time has come for the university and city to combine ideas, energy, and resources to create a plan that will benefit every person in this community,” Heather Dawson said, executive director of the Office of Research and Economic Development at UM-Flint.
Dawson has been a longtime advocate for progressive sustainability practices on UM-Flint’s campus and in the community, according to the press release.
“Climate change is a priority for all of us and developing this plan for sustainability will impact generations to come,” Dawson said.
UM-Flint faculty will lend their areas of expertise such as sustainability, environmental, and urban studies, to collaborate with city employees and community members.
As the plan unfolds, they will seek input from residents and consider different approaches.
Students will also play a major role in the initiative and gain experience in their areas of study, according to the release.
“The City of Flint is incredibly grateful to join with UM-Flint to build a plan for environmental sustainability. This alliance will strengthen the relationship between academia and municipal government, giving brilliant minds the opportunity for intentional civic activism on a project of vital importance,” Chief Resilience Officer Lottie Ferguson said.
The university has already undertaken sustainability efforts on campus. This fall, Chancellor Debasish Dutta created the UM-Flint Sustainability Committee, which works to improve carbon neutrality. The committee will work with city officials on the planning process.
Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said he is “enthusiastic” about the collaboration.
“The City of Flint looks forward to expanding our partnership with the University of Michigan-Flint on building an environmental sustainability plan in Flint,” Neeley said, “The impact of this work will create a blueprint for other urban municipalities to follow. It is purposeful work that cultivates innovation through applied research to move Flint forward.”