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Michigan Engaging Community through the Classroom (MECC)

Michigan Engaging Community through the Classroom (MECC) is an initiative exploring the benefits of multi-disciplinary teams at UM working on stakeholder-based community engagement efforts. During the semester-long process, students from different disciplines learn from each other as they collaborate on complex projects.

Winter 2022 Semester Highlights

Refugee Ready Region (RRR)

This semester saw a strong start to the RRR MECC project which will continue running across the next several years. Keep reading for a very brief summary of some of the work accomplished during this term:

Sharon Haar’s architecture and urban design students created models and presented their sketches for what affordable housing and community development could look like in the city of Inkster. 

MECC students, faculty, staff and stakeholders participating in the Taubman students’ final studio review.
MECC students, faculty, staff and stakeholders participating in the Taubman students’ final studio review.   

Chris Mueller and his business students worked with arcGIS to assist Wayne Metro Community Action Agency in mapping and selecting potential site locations based on criteria outlined in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) application available through Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). For more information, read their final report here!

Nick Tobier and his design students built relationships with residents in Hamtramck’s Freedom Village to inform their development of public art installations for the area.

Hamtramck resident, Mwajuma teaching STAMPS student, Kayla how to cook Congolese fish, Afghani chicken and vegetables as well as Somali fried rice.
Hamtramck resident, Mwajuma teaching STAMPS student, Kayla how to cook Congolese fish, Afghani chicken and vegetables as well as Somali fried rice. 

Dr. T.J. Klein and medical students with the U-M Asylum Collaborative (UMAC) began assessing the best ways to connect newly arriving refugees with medical and mental health services.

Jade Marks and her science communication students stitched all of these efforts together by working with each unit to break down pedagogical barriers and develop communication strategies for presenting highly technical information in terms everyone can understand. 

From Lakeshore Erosion towards Coastal Resiliency

Over the past 16 months, this MECC project evolved from measuring and mapping lakeshore erosion to developing resources for resiliency in coastal management. During the initial Winter 2021 semester, students studying environmental sustainability, law, and urban planning worked with officials from Chikaming Township to assess erosion patterns along Lake Michigan. Over this past Winter 2022 semester, the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) students and faculty have continued this work and collaborated in part with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to produce a final report outlining their findings and recommendations. This student team also produced several amazing resource libraries which you can review at the links below. 

SEAS students present their research during a webinar hosted by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

Mapping Food Security in Oakland County

This MECC project actually grew out of work produced during the Fall 2021 semester by students in the Ford School of Public Policy. This student team worked with officials in Oakland County to conduct a food landscape survey that will be used to better understand and plan for food security in this community located in Southeastern Michigan. Their report can be read here and it will serve as a valuable resource for future teams continuing this work throughout the summer and upcoming fall semester.

Fall 2021 Semester Highlights

Detroit River Story Lab

MECC is a proud partner and supporter of the Detroit River Story Lab, founded in Fall 2020 by U-M English and comparative literature professor, David Porter. A part of U-M’s Poverty Solutions, the Story Lab is dedicated to working with local organizations and courses on campus to tell the nuanced and rich stories of this international waterway to audiences on both sides of the river. Check out the video below and read more about the work they have done this year at https://news.umich.edu/what-lies-beneath-detroit-river-narratives-emerge-through-schooner-trips-boat-building/

STEAM in a Box

Partnering with the Michigan Science Center located in Downtown Detroit, students enrolled in Nick Tobier’s ARTDES 314 “Change by Design” course created the first prototypes for “Discovery Boxes” that will be used by the museum as an innovative and adaptive tool to connect underserved audiences with affordable STEAM learning resources and experiences, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has limited hands-on learning opportunities.

Tobier class portrait

Professor Nick Tobier and his ARTDES 314 students with some of their “boxes” including a wearable vest that teaches students about electrical wire circuitry as well as sewing skills.

MECC Contacts

Paul Fontaine, Program Manager/Lecturer
paulfont@umich.edu
(248) 571-1926

Melinda Verhage, Project Manager
mverhage@umich.edu
(858) 735-3158

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