University of Michigan course exploring Great Lakes open to the public

Sunset over Lake Michigan on July 7, 2018. (Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts presents the Great Lakes Theme Semester titled “Lake Effects” that explores the history of the lakes as well as new challenges the region faces.

Members of the public are invited to attend special panels throughout the semester.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes make up roughly 84 percent of surface fresh water in North America. The Great Lakes Basin spans parts of Canada and eight U.S. states.

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“The Great Lakes are useful and important to study not just because of issues in the region, but (they’re) also a useful microcosm for understanding issues around the world,” David Porter, faculty lead for the Great Lakes Theme Semester, told The University Record.

Porter said that exploring the economics, politics and environmental status of the Great Lakes can reflect a broader trend globally.

Scheduled panels this semester:

  • Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. - “The Fishery - Living in Living Systems” (Vandenberg Room of the Michigan League)
  • Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. - “Great Lakes Histories - Indigenous Cultures through Common Futures” (Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union)
  • March 16 at 5 p.m. - “Using and Moving the Water - Rights, Access and Equity” (Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union)
  • April 6 at 4 p.m. - “Politics & Policies - The Great Lakes Task Force” (Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union)
  • April 20 at 5 p.m. - “Looking Forward - Legal and Policy Prescriptions for the Great Lakes” (Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union)

For more information, visit