The Clinic’s inaugural project, a SEAS Master's capstone effort with the Detroit-based nonprofit organization Jefferson East Inc. (JEI), was completed in spring 2023. The Clinic has three additional Master's capstone projects currently underway, which will conclude in April 2024, and three new Master's capstone projects that began in January 2024 and will finish in spring 2025.
In a Master's capstone project, interdisciplinary teams of students work together with a real world client for approximately 18 months, to address a pressing local, statewide, regional, national, or global sustainability problem. Master’s capstone projects give students boots-on-the-ground project management, budgeting, and career experience. A majority of SEAS graduates complete a Master’s capstone project to fulfill their graduation requirement, unless they choose to pursue a formal thesis instead. Projects are advised by a SEAS faculty member, and deliverables are agreed upon collaboratively by the client, student team, advisor, and Clinic. All Clinic projects work in metro Detroit. The Clinic prioritizes supporting multi-year efforts, to help build long-term relationships in the City.
The Clinic also provides funding for faculty-advised non-capstone student projects that further our goals of engaging in Detroit within SEAS' primary areas of interest. We have four active non-capstone projects that will wrap up in 2024. While the Clinic is not accepting new proposals in spring and summer 2024, we anticipate being able to consider new capstone and non-capstone project requests in fall 2024.
Please see our funding process and guidelines as well as our application form for general information.
Additional information about ways to get involved as a student can be found below.
Can the Clinic assist me in finding internships?
The Clinic matches students with internships with our key clients. Students who apply for funding for a community project or participate in one of our sponsored capstone efforts receive priority consideration for internships. We are always working to help provide students with the experience needed to develop successful careers and make an impact in the sustainability space.
Are there other ways I can enhance my U-M/SEAS curriculum with the Clinic?
Yes, through real-world experiences, hands-on professional training and the specific skills needed to interact most effectively with underserved communities. The goal of the Clinic is to provide multiple ways to deliver capacity based on client needs, so additional opportunities will be established in the future.
Are there classes that have a specific tie-in with the Clinic that I should be aware of?
Going forward, the Clinic will coordinate directly to provide workshops both within SEAS and incorporating interdisciplinary opportunities across the University.
How do I best network with or access the Clinic partner individuals and organizations, such as in my research or career development?
There will be mentorship and programming opportunities for students that will be developed in partnership with the SEAS Student Center and Detroit community organizations. These kinds of opportunities will be designed to foster networking and promote thoughtful conversations between students, organizations, and Clinic partner individuals.
How do clinic projects differ from SEAS master’s projects?
The Clinic is focused on multi-year projects—contrasting with the one year to 18-month timeframe of many SEAS master’s projects. Clinic projects will be cumulative, engaging with partners seeking more than one-time student support. This systematic and phased type of engagement brings in multiple faculty, spanning SEAS expertise areas, and involves more than one cohort of students. The Clinic will also offer structured support, instruction, and mentorship, and Clinic projects will be located within the same geographic area. SEAS is making a major commitment to Detroit through the Clinic, and rather than acting as ad hoc partners, multiple faculty members will collaborate to address a challenge. The Clinic’s work in Detroit is further classified into four initial themes: Energy and Water Justice (in particular, drinking water access and affordability); Green Infrastructure and Neighborhoods; Sustainability and Climate Action Agenda Implementation; and Water, Habitat and Sediment Restoration, with an emphasis on the vitality of the Detroit and Rouge Rivers.