University President Mary Sue Coleman and Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical Company, announced a new sustainability fellowship on Monday that will be funded by Dow Chemical to support sustainable research at the University. Dow Chemical’s gift of $10 million will be used over a period of six years to bring a wide variety of academic leaders to our campus with the hopes of creating solutions and promoting sustainability across the globe. Though Dow Chemical has contributed to pollution in the past, the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program will help to clean up our environment. More companies should take part in these types of programs as our society continues to search for more green technology.

This fellowship will be focused on sustainability issues ranging from climate change to energy use, and will work toward proactive solutions to truly make an impact. At Monday’s announcement, Liveris said fellows “will be inspired to work together as they would in the real world to develop concrete solutions, actionable solutions to how we can all live cleaner … and greener.” The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program will not just focus on one graduate program at the University but unite many programs to work together.

Though this money is a small amount when compared to funded University research as a whole, Dow Chemical’s gift of $10 million will still support important research. Sustainable research in today’s world is necessary and meaningful, as issues such as climate change, water resources, housing, transportation and energy use plague our society. The need for sustainable resources and a cleaner future cannot be ignored, and with the money from Dow Chemical, this greener future may become a reality due to research at the University.

While Dow’s gift provides great opportunities and hopeful solutions, the company should continue to play an active role in the community and take part in this movement by doing more than just donating money. The company has a sordid past of abusing the environment, and it should pursue other ways of improving its practices.

The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program will also unite a diverse, scholarly group of students from all disciplines. Graduate students in the areas of public policy, chemistry, economics and law will all come together to solve the long term problems our society faces. By bringing together such a wide group of academic leaders, success and sustainable energy solutions are only imminent.

Respected universities, such as Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University, already have funded sustainability fellowships and are moving toward greener solutions. It’s about time the University starts playing a bigger role in this active movement toward a more sustainable future as well. We are a leading research institute with the talented students, staff and funding to truly make an impact in our society.

The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program will not only unite a group of talented individuals from various disciplines and fields of study, but will also make the University a forerunner in the research and promotion of sustainable energy. Through Dow Chemical’s $10 million gift, our University will be able to make huge strides toward a greener, more efficient future.

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