Sustainable Futures Institute

Michigan Technological University

David Shonnard, Director, Our Sustainable Futures Institute; Professor, Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University; Jim Baker, Executive Director, Innovation and Industry Engagement, Michigan Technological University

The Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) is an education and research leader on sustainability initiatives related to water, air, and energy; industrial ecology; environmentally conscious manufacturing; green engineering; public policy; the built environment; sustainable development that includes issues of the developing world; pre-college education for students and teachers; community outreach; and university campus eco-improvements. The SFI has over 100 participating campus members and oversees more than $15 million in research projects addressing all areas of sustainable systems development.

Contact: Jim Baker,, (906) 487-3459

The Advanced Energy Storage System Talent Development

Wayne State University

C. P. Yeh, Chair, Engineering Technology Division, Wayne State University

The State of Michigan has identified advanced energy storage systems as a strategic growth cluster for Michigan. The investment will generate nearly 54,200 jobs. As a key partner of the Southeast Michigan Advanced Energy Storage Systems Initiative, the Michigan State Energy Sector Partnership, and the Michigan Academy for Green Mobility Alliance, Wayne State University has responded to the needs for this rapidly emerging industry by strengthening communications with industry, workforce development agencies, and community college partners to clearly define workforce requirements; by developing technologically progressive curricula; and by gathering and disseminating current, innovative educational materials to a broad network of national institutions.

Contact: CP Yeh,, (313) 577-8076

Renewable Energy Facility

Northern Michigan University

Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Northern Michigan University

This $16.4 million facility will burn wood chips and wood byproducts from the Upper Peninsula. The project goals are to reduce operating costs, provide greater fuel flexibility and protection from volatile gas pricing, use a renewable resource, and create local jobs.

Contact: Gavin Leach,, (906) 227-2200


Grand Valley State University

Michael Posthumus, Assistant Director, Center for Educational Partnerships, College of Education, Grand Valley State University; Colleen Bourque, Groundswell Coordinator, Grand Valley State University; Mary Nell Baldwin, Professional Development Consultant, Kent Intermediate School District

Groundswell is an environmental stewardship education program that works with students, teachers, and community partners in Kent County. The initiative is focused on creating lifelong stewards of the Great Lakes via the Grand River watershed. Conceptualized collaboratively in 2009 by many individuals representing organizations from higher education, K-12 schools, government, nonprofits, and businesses, Groundswell works to provide professional development for partnering teachers from 15 local schools that focuses on service learning, stewardship, building partnerships, and implementing projects with students.

Contact: Michael Posthumus,, (616) 331-6237

Discovering PLACE: Empowering the Next Generation of Environmental and Community Stewards Through Place-Based Education

University of Michigan–Flint

Leyla Sanker, Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of University Outreach, University of Michigan–Flint

Discovering PLACE is a collective effort of Flint-area K-12 schools, University faculty, community organizations, and parents that is facilitated by University Outreach at the University of Michigan–Flint. Focused primarily on addressing the urban environmental and community development needs of the Flint area, connections between urban life and the Great Lakes are made relevant for youth through place-based education. As one of eight regional hubs of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI), Discovering PLACE helps connect young people to place by offering sustained teacher professional development, facilitating school-community partnership building, and providing resources and support to implement place-based education activities with youth.

Contact: Leyla Sanker,, (810) 424-5477