May 2023 WMU News

Popular plant TikTok showcases student’s succulent humor and self care

Known by his social handle @theplantprodigy, Jacob Soule started sharing his obsession with house plants on TikTok in 2020, posting videos about his own plants and answering people’s questions about how to properly care for theirs. Today, Soule’s plant-powered TikTok is one of the most beloved on social media, with nearly 27 million likes and one million followers.

Why I Give: David Sluyter

Through his planned gift, David Sluyter, MA ’69, EdD ’80, will fund scholarships for students interested in becoming sustainability leaders in business.

Embracing machines’ support

Dr. Bryan Abendschein and Drs. Chad and Autumn Edwards are studying how people interact with technology—specifically soft, furry robotic animals—and the implications for providing emotional support and stimulation.

Alumnus surfs the turbulence to success

Steve Denomme, BS ‘00, has weathered the impacts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, recession and pandemic on the airline industry to thrive as a captain.

Sustainable innovation earns Western students a share of $19,000

The Bronco Challenge for Sustainable Impact tasked interdisciplinary teams of students with identifying and solving challenges related to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Winning teams came up with concepts related to urban gardening, aquaponics and sustainable stadium lighting.

Medieval art scholar wins WMU’s 2023 Gründler Book Prize

Dr. Elina Gertsman, professor of medieval art and Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Professor in Catholic Studies II at Case Western Reserve University, is the winner of the 2023 Gründler prize for “The Absent Image: Lacunae in Medieval Books.”

WMU introduces new tribal governance certificate

With the launch of the region's only graduate certificate in tribal governance, Western Michigan University is giving students the chance to expand their knowledge of Indigenous culture, government and sovereignty while also establishing a closer relationship with the local Indigenous tribes of southwest Michigan.

New School of Environment, Geography and Sustainability positions WMU for the future

Led by founding director Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah, Western Michigan University’s new School of Environment, Geography and Sustainability will be established in the College of Arts and Sciences after being approved by the Board of Trustees. This new school will combine the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Geography, Environment and Tourism.

Ingenious invention gives plant lovers a green thumb and wins Bronco Pitch

The 2023 Bronco Pitch competition showcased student entrepreneurs from Western Michigan University who delivered three-minute pitches to panels of judges. The winning team was made up of three engineering students who created an atmospheric water generator called SELPE, to alleviate the daily task of watering plants.

Supply chain student awarded national scholarship

Western senior and supply chain standout Ally Resa joins a select group of 20 recipients to receive the award this year, and she is just the third WMU student to receive the scholarship that helps women in supply chain management develop their talent through mentorship and programming.