People around the world are hearing about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. What is the University of Michigan doing to help? Student Life supports the people of Flint, and is working with students, faculty, and community members who wish to learn from and assist Flint residents as they address the crisis.
If you’d like to find out more or get involved, additional information is available from:
- Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning
- Help for Flint
- Michigan Impact
- Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine
- Michigan Public Radio, and
- University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
The Ginsberg Center is working with UM-Flint’s Office of Community Outreach to help connect students from Ann Arbor to service opportunities driven by the immediate needs of those most affected. Working alongside the residents of Flint and the students of UM-Flint, our students assist a community in need while benefitting from rich engaged learning opportunities. Engaged learning requires students to actively consider and wrestle with complex, unscripted, or ambiguous challenges. Students are responsible to ‘real-world’ stakeholders whose lives are directly affected.
Engaged learning opportunities can spur a lifelong commitment to thoughtful and active community participation. Indeed, Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint doctor who has done so much to expose the toxicity of the water and raise awareness about the public health crisis is an alumnus of UM-Ann Arbor (BS – SNRE, ‘98). She was actively involved in civic engagement programs provided by Student Life through the Ginsberg Center.
Here are some of the questions that U-M students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members, are asking as Flint and the nation grapple with this public health tragedy:
- How can we support students to understand and critically reflect on this crisis in context, and inspire long term commitment to active and informed leadership in our communities?
- What roles have race and social class played in the government’s handling of this issue?
- What role has the political disenfranchisement of Flint and the removal of local power played?
- How can we convert the energy that grows out of anger about the crisis to help mobilize our students to effectively and justly apply their skills and passions?
Student Life helps students develop critical thinking skills in real-life situations, learn and connect outside of traditional classroom settings, and contribute to efforts and communities off-campus. Additional questions and a checklist to guide thoughtful community engagement are available on the Ginsberg website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more ideas or information.
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