Under the current administration, phrases such as “fake news” or “alternative facts” have made their way into the common vernacular. On this episode of It’s Hot In Here, guests Kylie Schafer, Amy Pandit, and Justin Schell joined regular host Ben Sonnega for a discussion of their undergraduate class’s collaboration with Justin and the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative.
Kylie is a junior in the school for public health, and Amy is a junior studying data science in the school of engineering. They were part of a class run by Liz Ultee that looked into the effects of climate change and pollution through readings on events such as the famed contamination in Love Canal, NY, or in Flint, MI. Beyond that the class is a community-based learning course. This means that the class usually takes part in some sort of direct community engagement or volunteer experience related to their topic, and this class got to do something particularly relevant.
Justin Schell is Director of the Shapiro Design Lab at U-M and has been involved with the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative since early 2017. The EDGI website was designed to monitor wording changes made to government websites, particularly pertaining to climate science and data sets. The website uses an algorithm to track changes, but it takes citizen involvement to sift through the changes and determine what is actually significant. This is where Liz’s class stepped in. The class got to contribute to EDGI’s efforts while learning about access to information and how to play an active role in holding governments accountable.
Tune in for a delightful and thought-provoking discussion!