Schlissel updates students on tri-campus efforts to aid Flint amid water crisis

Monday, January 25, 2016 - 8:24pm

In an e-mail to the University community Monday,  University President Mark Schlissel commended the efforts of UM-Flint Chancellor Sue Borrego to combat lead-contaminated drinking water on the Flint campus amid the ongoing water crisis in the city.

Their considerable efforts began more than a year ago, and because of their actions, drinking water on the campus is safe,” Schlissel wrote. “This is a long-term crisis for one of our state’s most important cities and its people. The strong ties (Borrego) has built with the community will be needed more than ever.”

In a November 2015 statement to The Michigan Daily, Borrego said the Flint campus has implemented multiple initiatives in an effort to provide safe water on its campus.

According to Borrogo, although the campus itself was not required to start filtering and boiling their water at that time, all drinking water fountains, break room sinks, kitchen sinks and food prep areas were installed with filtration devices. Faucet mounted filters were fitted for students living on campus in residences halls, as well as those living off campus.

In a November 2015 e-mail to The Michigan Daily, Marjory Wisniewski, senior advisor for media relations and communications for the Flint campus, wrote that Borrego drove the measures to improve water quality.

“Borrego took the stance that our campus must go beyond the federal guidelines to ensure we protect students, faculty and staff from any and all lead exposure and to provide peace of mind by installing filters throughout campus,” Wisniewski wrote.

Borrego noted in her statement that while the water emergency is not expected to subside anytime soon, resources from all three campuses are being provided to the Flint student, faculty, and staff community, and flint residents not affiliated with the University.

“This is a tragedy that should not have happened,” Borrego said. “We know it is going to take time to address the infrastructure issues, to set up care for the children who ingested lead, and to determine how to prevent this from ever happening again. The University will continue to work in partnership to identify needs and contribute our faculty expertise and our service in support of our community.”

Earlier this week, Schlissel also announced $100,000 in seed funding would be allocated for research projects designed to address the Flint water crisis.

“At U-M, a crisis in the host city of one of campuses is a crisis that affects us all,” Schlissel said in a statement. “We will do all we can to ensure health and safety for our campus community and the people of Flint. We are all one family.”

Student organizations at the University have also worked to aid residents of Flint and other surrounding areas. The Black Student Union launched a GoFundMe page to collect money for fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the Prevention Research and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center has partnered for Fill-a-Truck for Flint’, an initiative to raise donations and collect bottled water for Flint residents.

The University’s Center for Engaged Academic Learning will also host the Tri-Campus Student Summit on February 6. The event will feature workshops and consultations for undergraduates, as well as speakers who will discuss how students can get involved with providing aid for the Flint community. 

Daily Staff Reporter Sam Gringlas contributed to this report.