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University of Michigan School of Information


Theme year

UMSI Theme Year 2023-24: Water Conservation and Access

UMSI is excited to introduce its first-ever theme year, which will connect students, faculty and staff on a common social issue affecting our local and global communities. 

2023-24 | Water conservation and access

Water is a vital yet complex resource. The current and forthcoming challenges associated with water — ranging from access and sanitation to conservation and agriculture — are massive and span the globe. We are proud to be part of the Great Lakes region, which contains 90% of all U.S. freshwater, and want to highlight the significance of water to lives and livelihoods here on the pleasant peninsula. 

The purpose of a theme year is multifaceted:

  • Provide additional resources and depth for students’ course projects and self-initiated endeavors
  • Connect students, faculty and staff on an issue of worldwide importance and concern (measured in part through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals)
  • Use an information lens to address a large-scale issue 

Each theme year features special events, course projects, a theme-specific category at the annual Exposition, and funding for students who seek to pursue theme-related projects. UMSI partners with organizations and subject matter experts to promote shared awareness and action.

Check out the full theme year website for additional information and contact the Engaged Learning Office team at [email protected] with specific questions.


In transparent lake water, zebra mussels cling to a large rock, covering its surface completely.

UMSI launches theme year on water conservation and access

Learn how students are using information science to tackle invasive species in the Great Lakes, inform storm management policy and ensure access to clean drinking water in Michigan.

UMSI Theme Year keynote with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. Thursday, Sept. 28, 4-5 p.m., Ann Arbor location TBA. Details at

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II to deliver keynote talk on water challenges in Michigan

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II will join the UMSI community to discuss water-related issues facing Michigan communities. His keynote talk comes as part of UMSI’s theme year on water conservation and access.

Elizabeth Yakel, Cliff Lampe and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II smile on stage in front of a screen projecting "UMSI theme year 2023-24: Water conservation and access"

Water management is challenge of a generation, Lt. Gov. tells UMSI students

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II gave a keynote talk on Sept. 28 about water infrastructure and access in Michigan, highlighting the important role of information professionals in solving these issues.

"An image of a person leaning over a sink staring at a faucet. UMSI logo in the corner."

8 things Michiganders should know about our drinking water

Time to check your faucet? While drinking water in Michigan is strictly regulated, contamination often occurs at the household level. A few practical tips can keep you safe.

A UMSI student holds a shovel and smiles while working in a rain garden

It's raining data: A2 Data Dive returns to UMSI with a fitting theme

Founded in 2011, the data hackathon challenges students to find solutions for local nonprofit organizations. This year was all about water. 



Select courses will have a “water conservation and access” theme that will manifest through client-based projects, accessible data sets or UX-specific situations. 

  • SI 305 - Introduction to Information Analysis
  • SI 307 - Introduction to User Experience Design
  • SI 501 - Contextual Inquiry and Consulting Foundations