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Week of September 13, 2010

LSA theme semester explores water’s importance

How is water essential to life on Earth?

That’s the primary question that will be explored through the upcoming LSA Winter 2011 Theme Semester on Water.

As part of the LSA water theme semester, students and faculty will research local, regional and worldwide water issues aimed at developing 10 key ideas and actions that will become the core messages of the water semester. The project will dovetail with the theme semester’s “Message in a Bottle” initiative, encouraging the replacement of disposable bottles with reusable ones. The Water Semester also will examine water in the global economy, cultural traditions, art and literature, and history.

“Global water shortage is rapidly becoming one of the top environmental and societal problems of the 21st Century,” says Manja Holland, research programs officer for the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, postdoctoral fellow with Michigan Society of Fellows and chair of the LSA Water Theme Semester Committee. “And, with recent oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and the Kalamazoo River, water is increasingly becoming top-of-mind as a fundamental sustainability issue.”

Each semester, LSA establishes a theme for the campus community to engage in coursework, discussions, and other collective activities about that subject matter. The Fall 2010 Semester theme is: What Makes Life Worth Living? The Water Semester will kick off Jan. 12 with an ice-percussion concert on the Diag.

“The University of Michigan is uniquely positioned — geographically and academically — to explore the issue of water,” Holland says. “We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions and educational exercises around this critical topic area.”

To learn more about the water semester, and to sign up for e-mail notifications about related activities, go to Questions and suggestions are directed to the Water Theme Semester Committee at



Stephen Kopera, instructional designer, Information and Technology Services, on the key to producing effective information videos for staff: “The key challenge is conveying the essence of the material.”


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