Focusing on sustainable construction, The Dow Chemical Company, the University of Michigan (U-M) and Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley (HHHV), joined together on September 16 and 17 to renovate three homes in Ypsilanti’s Gault Village. The revitalization focused on the “Michigan House” located at 1550 Arthur, marking the 30th house in Gault Village to be renovated by HHHV. The event also celebrated Dow’s 30th anniversary as a Habitat partner.
More than 30 U-M students from a wide variety of majors participated in the two-day event including Max Zeitlin, a junior from Washington, D.C. majoring in international security and Middle Eastern Studies. “I got involved with the U-M Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter as a freshman and it has been a lot of fun,” said Zeitlin, the club’s community relations co-chair. “It is great to see the process of revitalizing a house from start-to-finish, while getting to know the families you are helping and the neighbors in Gault Village.”
“Contributing to community success is a key part of Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals,” explained Neil Hawkins, Dow’s vice president, Global EH&S and Sustainability and executive sponsor for the University of Michigan. “Dow’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity and U-M on this fantastic community project demonstrates the power of sustainability and its enormous impact on people and the planet. We are honored to be involved.”
Dow became the first corporate partner of Habitat for Humanity in 1983 as a way to get employees involved in community projects. “Employees can see the products Dow makes in action, and how those products help reduce the cost of utilities by ensuring the homes achieve Energy Star standards,” said Bo Miller, Dow’s global director of corporate citizenship.
Although extensive progress was made during the two-day event, the U-M Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter and the Ross Habitat for Humanity Builders will continue to work on the house on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the semester.
“This project is a great opportunity for our students to experience the tremendous benefits that result when the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental and social—are woven together,” said Don Scavia, Graham Family Professor and Special Counsel to the University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman.
Rob Nissly, BSE '86 and MBA '88, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley’s housing director, agrees. “The U-M student organizations have been doing this for 17 years and we greatly appreciate all that they do for us,” Nissly said. “We are so grateful to have Dow and the University of Michigan partnering with us to change the lives of another great family.”
In addition to the long-running partnership between Dow and Habitat for Humanity and between U-M and HHHV, Dow’s relationship with U-M also runs deep: “We have more than 400 U-M alumni working for us worldwide,” said Miller. “This collaboration makes sense because we are all interested in sustainable communities and we have a long history of working together.”