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Tapping into Knowledge

UMD student Adam Reinhardt with other attendees of Flint Water Conference
November 15, 2018

Student Adam Reinhardt earns a scholarship through KUMD to attend the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference.

Recently, Adam Reinhardt had the opportunity to travel to Flint, Michigan, for the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference. This conference discussed water quality, budget cuts, and social injustices prevalent in Flint.

How did he score an opportunity like this?  

Adam went to the conference through the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research which he is very appreciative of receiving. He learned about the scholarship through his work at KUMD, UMD's public radio station that covers local stories, provides morning news and music focused programming in the evening. Adam says that KUMD is “supported by students, and we have professional staff who guide students and give us career training.”

He has been with KUMD for three years now and started as a DJ. Adam has also held many positions including marketing, producing news, and producing "Green Visions" for Northland Morning.

Adam is an environment and sustainability major at UMD. He chose this major because he wants to go to law school for environmental law. Sustainability is really important to Adam, and he wants to impact the community as much as he can.

The Conference

Prior to the conference, Adam states his knowledge on the Flint, Michigan, water crisis was at a basic level. "Environmental injustice is something everyone knows a bit of in a general sense," he says.

When Adam attended this conference in Flint, he was “able to get a better understanding and deeper knowledge on how these families were living day-to-day with undrinkable and unusable tap water.”  

Adam thoroughly enjoyed his time there and says, “going and hearing about it was an enlightening experience.” Adam also mentions that he got a better understanding of how the government was handling the crisis through budget and action. Adam noticed that “Flint was viewed by the state of Michigan as somewhat disposable.”

The Eco-friendly lifestyle

To Adam, sustainability is something that holds a lot of importance and impact in his life. He states, “KUMD is a great outlet to spread awareness on how we can become more eco-friendly.”

Adam had the great opportunity to interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha after the conference. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician and public health advocate for research on the Flint water crisis.

Adam learned while talking to Dr. Mona that she believes “you have plenty to worry about in your own backyard.” She mentioned that “we need to find more issues in our community and become passionate about them.”

Adam is a strong advocate in the power of local, and he's taken Dr. Mona’s words to heart. Adam elaborates that, “what I’ve learned in my studies and while engaging with our community through KUMD is the easiest in-road to making a difference is right in your backyard.”

Adam believes that “Duluth has a strong activist community, and for my work at KUMD, I’m able to give a platform to those activists and community members so they can impact the city around them.”

Pictured: L-R: Adam Reinhardt, Samantha Shriber (Central Michigan University), Talis Shelbourne (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Ed Makowski (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Julia Montag (University of Michigan).

Learn more about the Environment, Sustainability, and Geography program.

Learn more about KUMD.