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In the Fifth Annual Report, Collaborative Leadership for Sustainability, key impacts include supporting sustainability projects that have impacted people in 19 countries, 8 states, and 6 Michigan communities. Made possible by The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan (U-M) engaged 17 of U-M's 19 schools and colleges this past year.

A Dow Sustainability Master's Fellows team investigated the feasibility of installing a biodigester on campus to reduce food waste and capture gas to use for energy. This summary is part of the Dow Global Impact Series highlighting innovative field work projects.

Keywords: Biodigester, food waste, compost, energy conservation, engineering, sustainability, University of Michigan Dow Sustainability Fellows Program

Factsheet on Sustainable Dentistry from the University of Michigan

Sustainability is a concept that can be applied across all professions, even those that may not immediately come to mind, like dentistry. But how dentists conduct their practices have both environmental and economic sustainability implications. A Dow Sustainability Fellows team addressed the dearth of data and resources on sustainable dentistry through a three-part study of 1) a review of current sustainable practices in medical and dental facilities, 2) a case study at the U-M School of Dentistry, and 3) a sustainability toolkit for dental clinics that draws on the results of the review and the dentistry case study.

Keywords: University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Green Dentistry Practices, GreenHealth, Greening the Dental Clinic Toolkit

Access to grocery stores, a critical component food security, has consistently been linked to better health outcomes. Full-service grocery stores stock fresh fruits and vegetables daily and have competitive prices. However, in West Tallahatchie and other food insecure areas, the primary source of food is from convenience stores that sell a lot of processed, unhealthy foods. Research data supports the link between a community’s location in a food desert and negative health impacts. These same areas – usually low-income, communities of color, and rural areas – often have the most trouble attracting full-service grocery stores. This fact sheet outlines the activities of a Dow Fellows team, from the University of Michigan, and how they engaged people in the community to document the needs and the barriers that hindered previous local food security initiatives.

 

Keywords: Poverty, food access, food insecurity, empowerment, Dow Fellows Program

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Located in Mississippi, one of the least food-secure states in America, the west side of Tallahatchie County is a rural county located in the fertile Delta region and is about a 45-minute drive away from the closest full-service grocery store. Building on the stories and insights shared by community members during interviews and workshops, the Dow Master’s project team designed a regional plan that provides potential strategies for a more food-secure future.

Keywords: University of Michigan, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, food insecurity, poverty

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The Condon Crow House, located in the heart of Detroit, leverages sustainability programming and implementation for both community and personal development. It is a uniquely tangible effort, supported by the Dow Distinguished Award Program. Through this effort, U-M students are leveraging a house and side lots to demonstrate how community-driven development can reclaim place and steer the effects of social policy. Crow House embodies a wide breadth of sustainability categories, including energy, water, food sovereignty, public health, sanitation, site ecology, the built environment and community engagement.

Crow House is a non-profit organization, with a mission founded in the urban settlement house tradition. Located in Chadsey-Condon neighborhood on the west side of Detroit, the focus is on place-based community education in sustainability.  Including a permaculture demonstration/teaching site, Condon Crow House also provides a community space for a range of programming, as well as for an urban scholar in residence.

Keywords: University of Michigan, Dow Distinguished Awards for Interdisciplinary Sustainability

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Current transportation options in Detroit's HOPE Village are limited. According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, HOPE Village residents face a 10-30-minute trip via walking or public transit to local supermarkets, hospitals, or health clinics. By analyzing existing information and facilitating focus groups with HOPE Village residents, a Dow Fellows project team identified community needs and barriers to accessing transportation services such as Uber and Zipcar.

The HOPE Village Initiative is a long-term, comprehensive, place-based initiative designed to radically change the odds of success for children, their families, and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding Focus: HOPE's campus. The initiative aims to create a pipeline of opportunity, from cradle to post-secondary education.

Keywords: University of Michigan, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, Focus HOPE

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This report describes the actions taken and lessons learned by the Thrive Bar Dow Sustainability Fellows Team. Interested in food, entrepreneurship, and sustainability, the team leveraged a unique opportunity to learn what it means to be a “sustainable company” through firsthand experience. They recognized the need to strive for an overarching goal with a clear mission: start a food company that has sustainability as its primary objective. 

Keywords: University of Michigan, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program

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Despite the increasing recognition and implementation of sustainable practices across the corporate sector and the visibility of environmental issues in the news over the past decade, sustainability has yet to become a priority in the fields of healthcare and dentistry within the United States. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of U.S. health-related research pertains to hospital systems and operating rooms, while the awareness surrounding sustainability in dentistry is almost nonexistent. A Dow Fellows team conducted research efforts and produced a report to inform the growing discussion on sustainability in healthcare. Their efforts provide a useful starting point for dental students, educational institutions, and clinics interested in integrating sustainability into dental care. 

Keywords: University of Michigan, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, Green Dentistry

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The University of Michigan has dedicated numerous resources to make the campus more sustainable. An on-campus waste-to-energy anaerobic digester system could help advance that cause and assist U-M in working towards three Sustainability Goals. Furthermore, based on a preliminary analysis, it could be a revenue-positive investment within ten years. This report produced by a Dow Fellows student team outlines an initial feasibility study to place a biodigester on the U-M campus. Students recommended further analysis. 

Keywords: University of Michigan, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, methane, energy, biogas

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