School of Natural Resources and Environment

Systainable Systems News & Highlights

Tony Reames is an assistant professor and faculty affiliate with the Center for Sustainable Systems and the Energy Institute. He conducts research in the emerging field of energy justice, which investigates fair and equitable access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy technology. He is a multi-disciplinary scholar with degrees in public administration, engineering management, and civil engineering. We spoke with him about the experiences that led him to his current research.

Thanks to the generous donation of Jean Whittemore Sharp (BA, ’44), twenty-one SNRE students from various specializations were selected to participate in the San Francisco Career Trek. From October 17-18, these students had the opportunity to meet with over 45 Bay Area alumni and professionals that offered their time for roundtable discussions, moderated panels, personal meetings, as well as a networking reception.

Erb Faculty member, Andy Hoffman, has been recognized for his innovative teaching on Market Transformation as a 2016 Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Award recipient. For over a decade, the Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Awards have recognized faculty who are at the vanguard of teaching about the interface of business and society. Please join us in congratulating Andy on this amazing accomplishment!


We were pleased to welcome 143 master’s students to SNRE this fall. The Class of 2018 hail from 11 countries, more than 40 universities, and virtually every region of the US. They bring a wide range of undergraduate degrees and most significantly, cultural experiences and unique perspectives. Although their interests, goals and career plans are just as diverse, they share an acute sense of their responsibility as stewards of the environment, and an eagerness, as one student put it, to get things done.

Converting human urine into a safe fertilizer for agricultural crops is the goal of a new $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

University of Michigan engineering researchers lead the project, and they'll work with colleagues at the Vermont-based Rich Earth Institute, U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment, U-M School of Public Health, University at Buffalo and an independent communications consultant.

The University of Michigan is one of eight institutions to receive the Sustainability Award in Facilities Management by APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities.

APPA, formerly known as Association of Physical Plant Administrators, is the nation's primary organization for the management of educational facilities, with more than 1,300 learning institution members.

Six innovative student groups from SNRE were featured in a new publication, Made at Michigan, created by Innovate Blue. Made at Michigan is U-M’s first annual report of student innovation and entrepreneurship campus-wide. The magazine-style publication highlights more than 80 student ventures over a broad variety of disciplines, including for-profits, nonprofits, and innovative products and services with market potential.  

Rocky Rohwedder, MS ’79, began his journey with a single, central question: “Are there highly successful examples of communities lifting themselves out of poverty, while simultaneously lowering their ecological footprint?” Based on decades of exploration, he has found the answer to be a resounding yes. Illuminating that link for others prompted Rocky to write Ecological Handprints, an interactive eBook focused on proven grass-roots remedies that both ameliorate poverty and restore ecological resilience.

Butt and Xu win CAREER awards

Two SNRE assistant professors recently earned National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards — the organization’s most prestigious program for supporting early-career scientists. According to the NSF, CAREER awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. 

Professor Shelie Miller

SNRE Assistant Professor Shelie Miller was appointed as the Jonathan W. Bulkley Collegiate Professor of Sustainable Systems, effective for a five-year renewable term beginning May 1, 2016.

“Professor Miller is an accomplished researcher who has built a nationally recognized body of work, a gifted teacher and mentor devoted to continually improving her methods, and a dedicated colleague who devotes significant time to improving the academy,” said SNRE Professor and Interim Dean Dan Brown in his recommendation of Miller for the appointment.