A never-ending network
Wear Michigan gear anywhere in the world and you’re bound to elicit "Go Blue!" from total strangers. SNRE alumni take solidarity beyond football fandom, helping new grads and current students secure meaningful jobs with environmental agencies and organizations. "There are SNRE alumni everywhere!" says Dan Engel, MS ’15.
A full third of SNRE students come from countries other than the United States, including China, India, Iran, Mexico, Romania, and Sierra Leone. We believe that diverse perspectives strengthen our ability to solve the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Among our ranks are returning Peace Corps volunteers and veterans, and students with undergraduate degrees in everything from accounting to zoology. John Andreoni, MS ’17, says his favorite thing about SNRE is "the community of people with such diverse backgrounds and approaches to a common goal of living harmoniously with planet Earth." In addition to being ranked the #1 public research institution in the United States, the University of Michigan was named #6 for students studying abroad and #12 for the most LGBTQ-friendly campus.
At other universities, competition can be fierce and intimidating. Not so at SNRE, where two — or three or eight — heads are always better than one. Here, students and faculty from across the disciplines welcome each others’ input and work together to build comprehensive solutions. Collaboration is encouraged across fields of study and across the university at large, invigorating hypotheses and research outcomes. “The amazing things my classmates have done and continue to do motivate me every day. These people will change the world!” says Kari Paine, MS ’16.
At the forefront of their disciplines, at least 15 of them altogether, the SNRE faculty is on the front lines of both the student experience and coordinating groundbreaking research. A group that is among the brightest, most respected faculties in the nation, these scholars and practitioners work on the full spectrum of environmental issues. Their game-changing research is broad, deep, and interdisciplinary, pursuing a systems-based understanding of sustainability in water, energy, urban, food, forest, land, and ecological systems. Of course, their greatest endeavor is transforming our passionate, eager students into empowered sustainability experts. Our students love their engaging, accessible nature and find lifelong mentors among them.
The Dana Building
Occupying a quiet corner of the Diag, the Dana Building is home away from home for hundreds of students. Wander the halls and you’ll find them studying, chatting — and even napping — in every nook and cranny. The first-floor Ford Commons serves as the school’s living room, described by Flora Yifan He, MS ’17, as “a social zone that makes SNRE more like a home.” And of course, there are the top-notch labs, classrooms, and, according to Parker Anderson, MS ’16, “sweet LA studios.” Built in 1903 and later renovated into a LEED Gold certified model of sustainability, the building truly practices what SNRE preaches. Click here to learn more about the Dana Building’s environmentally friendly systems and materials.
From longstanding traditions like Campfire, held in Saginaw Forest every year since 1906, and Sustain-a-Ball, the dance formerly known as the Paul Bunyan Ball, to modern ones like Winter Solstice and the student-driven Great Roast, annual events punctuate the academic year with festivities that build camaraderie. In addition, the SNRE calendar is jam-packed with Earth-friendly activities and fascinating lectures. “The aMAIZEing lineup of SNREdly events is so central to the school's wonderful culture,” says Jana Stewart, MS ’16. And, there’s an added bonus, says Cassidy Dellorto-Blackwell, MS '17: “Access to leftover food from said events.”
Boundless learning experiences
Sean Pavlik loves “that SNRE has so many students at COP,” a meeting of the countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Every year since 1994, SNRE has led U-M’s Conference of Parties delegation around the world to attend this critical global discussion. It’s just one of the myriad opportunities SNREds have to participate in initiatives that have a significant impact on the planet at large. Extensive field work, internships, and master’s projects for real-world clients offer innovative learning pathways that break the boundaries of the classroom.
“Each other” is by far students’ most popular answer to the question, “What do you love most about SNRE?” Kathryn Meyer, MS '16, says, “Other graduate programs do not have this strong of a bond fostered between students, which starts at orientation at the Biostation.” Geneva Langeland, MS '16, describes SNRE’s community as “being surrounded by people that care deeply about each other, their work, and their world.” And perhaps Ellen Spooner, MS '16, speaks for just about everyone when she says, "I love the passionate, intelligent, creative and kind group of students that SNRE brings in. I truly believe that the most valuable part of my experience at SNRE was the variety of students I met and learned from. They are all so passionate and have done — and are doing — some pretty amazing things. They have changed the way I look at the world, and I feel proud to be a part of this group."