The Graham Sustainability Institute is celebrating 10 years of engaging and supporting faculty and students from across the University of Michigan, and integrating this talent with external stakeholders to foster collaborative sustainability solutions at all scales. The Institute recently launched a 10th Anniversary web page to mark the occasion.
To date, the Graham Institute has supported more than 300 faculty and 1300 students across the campus to ensure sustainability becomes an increasingly integral part of our thinking and actions—from the impact of U-M’s research to the breadth and reach of our teaching, to the design and operation of our campus. Going forward, the Institute will continue its important mission, and will work closely with the new School for Environment and Sustainability, the Office of Campus Sustainability and other key partners to ensure U-M is collaboratively delivering inclusive and impactful sustainability programs that are making a positive impact at home and throughout the world.
Here are a few examples of the Institute’s impact over its first decade.
Greening the U-M Campus
A campus sustainability integrated assessment engaged more than 500 U-M community members from 27 academic programs to evaluate U-M’s performance related to buildings, energy, land, water, food, transportation, purchasing, recycling, and culture. This resulted in a long-term strategy and a set of “2025 Campus Goals” to meaningfully decrease the environmental impact of our campus over time.
We don’t know of any other university that has conducted such an extensive, democratic assessment of its operations. We carried out this evaluation because we must, and we will reduce our footprint. This is one time I want the University of Michigan to do less rather than more. — U-M President (emerita) Mary Sue Coleman
Advancing Detroit’s HOPE Village Initiative
Working with Focus:HOPE, a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization, this project supported efforts to transform a 100-block Detroit neighborhood. In collaboration with community members, six interdisciplinary teams developed strategies for open space, a traffic study, options for improved access to affordable housing, a master plan for economic development, and an asset map of city-wide educational resources.
The U-M work was absolutely essential to our success in being selected as one of the first two EcoDistricts in Detroit. We drew heavily on the fact that an integrated baseline assessment had been completed, and that we had a complete open space inventory and typology in place. — Debbie Fisher, HOPE Village Director
Enhancing Human and Ecological Health in Ghana
More than 100 million people live in artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities worldwide and are subject to profound social and ecological consequences, including mercury pollution. U-M researchers partnered with international artisanal and small-scale gold mining experts and Ghanaian stakeholders to develop solutions for safe gold-mining practices. The project has been a catalyst for ongoing national initiatives and policy changes in Ghana and other countries.
I have confidence that these data and response options will positively influence and inform emerging ASGM [artisanal and small-scale gold mining] policy in Ghana and internationally, and ultimately, improve lives for millions of people engaged in ASGM worldwide. — Dr. George Owusu Essegbey, Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Accra, Ghana