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University community pulls together to address Flint water crisis
By Rick Fitzgerald,
Public Affairs, University Record
Faculty, staff and students from all three University of Michigan campuses are coming together over the water crisis in the city of Flint to offer everything from research expertise and accurate information on the situation to water filters and bottled water.
UM-Flint Chancellor Susan Borrego and Provost Douglas Knerr are leading the coordinated university response.
"We are a campus of problem solvers," Borrego says in a message to the university community. "We are committed to making a difference in our students' lives and in our community.
"I want you to know that as an institution we are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our students, our faculty, our staff, and our campus visitors. I also want you to know that we recognize that this is far more than a campus issue. We must work to ensure the safety and well being of our community."
Faculty members from all three campuses will gather at UM-Flint next week in a collaborative effort to "identify areas of expertise, outline strategies to meet immediate community needs and propose longer-term solutions to the systemic issues underlying this crisis."
An invitation was sent to dozens of faculty members on the Flint, Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses Wednesday. The invitation, from the UM-Flint provost, says, in part:
"The University of Michigan-Flint is issuing a call to action to interested faculty members from all campuses of the University of Michigan to help identify ways in which we can respond to the Flint water crisis."
Part of that call to action is a commitment by President Mark Schlissel to provide $100,000 in seed funding for university faculty research initiatives to address the Flint water crisis.
The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 29 at the UM-Flint's Riverfront Center in downtown Flint.
UM-Flint has long been engaged in responding to the water crisis as a key member of the Flint community. All drinking water is filtered on the UM-Flint campus. The university has been testing the water monthly on campus for the past 12 months. View details.
Additionally, there are these efforts, with new initiatives being added:
UM-Flint is offering a free, open-to-the-public course focused on the Flint water crisis. The class began Jan. 21 and continues for seven additional sessions. View details.
The School of Public Health this week launched a website devoted to responding to the Flint water crisis with information on experts, partnerships, research and media coverage. View details.
Both SPH and the Trotter Multicultural Center are collecting bottled water for distribution to Flint residents. View details about the SPH collection. View details about the Trotter collection.
Water quality researchers in the College of Engineering are closely watching the unfolding situation with regards to several long-term aspects of the Flint drinking water crisis. View details.
Michigan News has developed a list of faculty experts on many topics surrounding the Flint water crisis. View details.
Michigan Radio has been focusing its environmental reporting team on the Flint water crisis.
View an archive of that reporting.
The School of Public Health has posted information about its research, partnerships and resources.
Individuals can direct a contribution toward assisting wiTth immediate needs of residents with bottled water, filters and other emergency response assistance with a contribution to the Flint Water Fund, coordinated through the United Way of Genesse County.
You can direct a contribution to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, coordinated through the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. This fund will be working to address the long term needs and interests of children and families directly impacted by the lead contaminated water.