A group of Central Michigan University students is using social media to gather information on climate change and periodic natural events, in the Great Lakes region.
Tom Rohrer, the director of the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems at Central Michigan University, and his students created a Facebook page called “Climate Change in the Great Lakes Basin.” On the page students post studies, articles, pictures and other observation, which address changing weather patterns. The page is also open for the public to post their observations, creating a free and vast collection of climate change information.
The project stems from a CMU course taught by Rohrer on building sustainability. The idea came during a class discussion on how to influence people do to the right thing for the environment, he said.
Central Michigan University junior Lauren Presutti is enrolled in Rohrer’s class. She said students thought Facebook would be the best way to reach people.
“Facebook is really accessible to everyone and I think that it is something that everyone really is on a lot for instant communication,” Presutti said. “I think that it was just the best source where we could reach out to people young and old and just kind of get the word out there as fast and as efficiently as possibly.”
Presutti said using social media is also valuable because it enables the community to interact.
“We’re hoping that other people around Michigan and around these areas will post things about what they are noticing about the weather and then we can kind of facilitate conversation and discussion about why these thing are happening and how these things will affect the Great Lakes basin and world in negative ways,” Presutti said.
The project also offers students a greater perspective, Rohrer said.
“They get to see that the issues discussed in class extend far beyond the classroom,” Rohrer said.
Rohrer plans to continue the project in the coming years.