Established in 2002, the Program in the Environment (PitE) enables students to draw from multiple disciplines to develop creative new approaches to some of our most pressing environmental and natural resource challenges. PitE’s mission is to offer an undergraduate experience that combines rigorous, interdisciplinary environmental studies and practical problem solving within an academic community that supports diversity, fosters intellectual
risk-taking, and builds relationships.
To continue PitE’s record of success and enhance its ability to offer experiential learning opportunities, we must expand our offerings that provide real-world experiences for students to develop their knowledge and put into practice what they have learned in the classroom. Field excursions, research opportunities, and service learning experiences all offer our students the chance to develop their knowledge and test their scholarship by allowing them to apply what they have learned to different situations. The video and stories below demonstrate the different ways that PitE students benefit from Giving Blueday.
Twenty-three students from the University of Michigan’s Green Building class spent the month of May building a new, sustainable structure by hand at the University of Michigan Biological Station. The “Green Building” class, taught by Associate Professor Joe Trumpey, spent the entire semester learning about designing and building environmentally friendly and sustainable structures. Then in May, the class went to the Biostation to construct a 400 square foot ‘Straw Bale House.’ The building was made from locally-sourced straw and adobe and is located on a hill that overlooks Douglas Lake. The students also wrote a grant to have solar panels installed at the site which will be used for the building’s electricity. The project, from foundation to roof, was completed in one month.
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Anna Johnson - PitE Major, Class of 2015
During the summer of 2015 I interned as an Assistant Farm Steward at One Island Sustainable Living Center (One Island), a nonprofit organization located in Honaunau, Hawaii. One Island is a farm based education program that utilizes various sustainable features such as solar energy panels, a rainwater catchment system, composting piles, organic gardening, and permaculture techniques. As the Assistant Farm Steward, my primary role was to help maintain the various fruit orchards, greenhouses, and medicinal herb gardens, as well as assist with the implementation of One Island’s latest grant funded project, the Same Canoe Local Food Challenge. I was also given the opportunity to partake in community council meetings, attend farm tours and specialized learning opportunities, and represent One Island at our booth at various Farmer’s Markets.
Kerrel Spivey - PitE Major, Class of 2016
“My trip to Japan was an amazing, eye-opening, and life changing experience. For about four weeks, we were directly exposed to Japanese culture, traditions, city life, food, activities, and much more. I decided to sign up for the course because it was an ideal opportunity for me. During my time at U of M, I majored in Environment and minored in Urban Studies. This course focused on environmental history in Japan and how urbanization and industrialization impacted and changed Japanese interactions with nature. The course analyzed how the Japanese people incorporate sustainability and nature throughout their lifestyle. I am very thankful for my supporters especially Program in the Environment for making this rare opportunity a reality.”
Anna Veltman- PitE Major, Class of 2017
“I got to spend three months of my summer working at International Bird Rescue, a non-profit in California that specializes in the rehabilitation of aquatic birds. This internship was a total immersive experience in animal husbandry. I learned everything from proper power washing technique to evaluating and treating very sick animals. IBR also operates as an oil response center, so I was exposed to the intensive care that goes into rehabilitating wildlife after a spill. The empathy and diligence involved in this kind of rigorous animal care was the most inspirational part of this internship. It was a community that I was honored to be a part of!"
PRACTICAL EXPERIENCES ($50,000 to $100,000 annually)
As students search to understand how ecosystems work andhow humans interact with these systems, they travel to fieldstations on all seven continents, over half of the states in the Union, many Canadian provinces, and to several South American locales. Programs approved for PitE’s practical experiencere quirement develop student knowledge through off-campus immersions in hands-on work and research. Through these experiences, students develop key skills and competencies for effective interdisciplinary problem solving. Your support of field experiences expands merit-based and need-based scholarships to help defray the costs of studying and/or working off-campus.
ADVOCACY AND PROPOSAL WRITING WORKSHOPS ($25,000 annually)
Environmental and sustainability problems have their origins,as well as their solutions, in complex interactions among equal partners in natural sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Arts and humanities have a long history of fermenting cultural change by humanizing key elements underlying the most pressing questions faced by society. With the broad blending of these areas through a PitE degree, students can bring unique value to future careers. Your contribution could help PitE create various traditional and non-traditional hands-on “how it is done” workshops for undergraduate students to develop practical tools for marketing, citizenship, and responsible advocacy.
PRACTITIONER IN RESIDENCE ($25,000 annually)
To train future leaders, PitE seeks opportunities for students to experience deep interactions with leading national and international environmental and sustainability practitioners from business, government, education, and other relevant areas. We envision a prestigious residency in which the visiting expert would spend at least two weeks teaching a mini-course, lecturing in the University community and local environmental community, meeting informally with our students and faculty, and generally bringing their challenges, ideas, and imagination into our community of scholars. Your support will provide room, board, travel expenses, and an honorarium.
UNDERGRADUATE INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ($10,000 to $50,000 annually)
Students hone their practical skills in real-world situations by participating in internships across the United States and in countries around the world. For liberal arts students, this experience is critical. With these opportunities, our students apply their skills in practical ways and gain experience and exposure that lead to future career possibilities. PitE internship students work with an internship sponsor and faculty mentor to define expectations and evaluate the experience. These internships prepare students to tackle complex environmental and sustainability problems, gather information from many sources, and communicate solutions to experts and non-experts alike. Your gift to the College internship program will help support PitE students with funding and opportunities for summer and academic year internships. We seek gifts that will provide students with support ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to help cover travel and living expenses, as well as stipends for students in unpaid summer internships who, without such support, would not be able to participate because of financial barriers. PitE students have held internships in many for-profit and non-profit organizations focused on responsible environmental stewardship. An endowed gift of $100,000 will provide funds for two to five students.
LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE-COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING ($10,000 to $50,000 annually)
PitE prepares tomorrow’s leaders to make an impact on an increasingly diverse range of stakeholders in our human-dominated biosphere. Community-based service learning opportunities allow students to create and implement plans for improved environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. Your support of citizen action provides resources for students to travel, organize, and construct their vision to be active leaders and participants in the community.
Click here for a printable PDF of these funding priorities.
Mail a Donation to the PitE Office
You may mail a check to the PitE Office:
1120 Undergraduate Science Building
204 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2215
Please make your check paybale to the University of Michigan.
Questions? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org