Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition at Eastern Michigan University shines spotlight on student projects at Community Forum – May 21

A student presents an environmental stewardship project at a Community Forum event at EMU.
The Community Forum showcases projects by students designed to address social and environmental challenges. (Photo by Leisa Thompson for SEMIS)

YPSILANTI  More than 250 students from across southeast Michigan will showcase their place-based environmental stewardship projects during the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition’s (SEMIS Coalition) Annual Community Forum at Eastern Michigan University. Educators, students, and community members will convene for the showcase from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, at the Student Center, 900 Oakwood St. in Ypsilanti.

“Our Annual Community Forum gives youth an important chance to teach each other and the public about how they are using science, math, social studies, and other subject matters to address social and environmental community challenges–from climate change to water and air quality,” said Ethan Lowenstein, EMU professor and SEMIS Coalition director.

The SEMIS Coalition encourages a place-based approach to education and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their community’s strengths, challenges, and history through questions and community-based research. Projects have included young people designing and building outdoor learning spaces, studying how water flows during flooding events, and using math to determine where to plant trees and rain gardens to remediate the flooding, among others.

To kick off the Forum, attendees can expect to participate during the following times in the agenda: 

  • 8:45-9:30 a.m. Welcome, Sign In, Breakfast: Second Floor Atrium
  • 9:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony: Ballroom Second Floor
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m. Student Presentations: Third Floor
  • 11:00-11:30 a.m. Student Presentations: Third Floor
  • 11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Student Presentations: Third Floor
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunch: Second Floor Ballroom
  • 1:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony
  • 1:30 p.m. Reflections
  • 1:50 p.m. Closing Remarks
  • 2 p.m. Closing

Students will share their experiences with educators and their community through public presentations and youth-led workshops. Open dialogues between students and the public will also take place to bridge the gap between generations.

“We strongly believe in the SEMIS Coalition that young people should not have to wait until they are of voting age to make important contributions to their communities,” said Lowenstein. “The visionary teachers and schools in the SEMIS Coalition create these opportunities by engaging with non-profit, business, and government partners.”

For more information on the Forum, visit the website.

About The SEMIS Coalition
The SEMIS Coalition is an alliance of educators, community organizations, and environmental professionals dedicated to fostering environmental literacy and stewardship in Southeast Michigan. The coalition was formed in 2008 and is a regional hub of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. Its local home is Engage@EMU and EMU's College of Education. With the help of these entities, SEMIS has been actively engaged in providing transformative education experiences to students through an Ecojustice Education framework, cultivating their understanding of and appreciation for the natural world, and empowering youth as civic leaders. To learn more about the SEMIS Coalition and the Community Forum, visit

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

May 16, 2024

Written by:
Gavin Millard

Media Contact:
Brittany Mobley