Our Story

Here’s a look at the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin’s evolution and a roadmap for where we’re heading as we make the state a global leader in water sciences training, research and innovation.

  • March 2017: At the inaugural Freshwater University Summit, representatives of water-focused programs from all 13 UW System campuses, as well as governmental, industry and community partners, meet to discuss how they might work more closely together to meet community needs.
  • October 2017: Partners and academic program representatives at the second Freshwater University Summit devise a preliminary plan that combines the unique strengths of each campus to create a water sciences powerhouse.
  • June 6, 2019: UW System announces the formation of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (FCW), the nation’s “most significant, integrated, multi-campus higher education program to meet the pressing needs of freshwater access and security.”
  • August 2019: The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation awards $670,000 to FCW, in addition to $1.4 million in funding from the UW System, as seed money for the collaborative’s initial phase.
  • January 2020: The Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality recommends approving legislation to fund the FCW through the academic year 2020-21.
  • May 2020: Marissa Jablonski, an educator and engineer with an extensive background in sustainability, is named executive director of FCW.
  • June 2020: A year into its existence, FCW has already supported research projects at 10 partner campuses, providing nearly $400,000 of funding.
  • August 2020: FCW unveiled a new website and social media presence, building public awareness of the initiative and recruiting prospective students.
  • January 2021: In an unprecedented statewide meeting about the initiative, provosts from across the University of Wisconsin System join to voice support for FCW.
  • July 2021: The Wisconsin State Legislature approves $2.5 million in the biennial budget for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.