More about 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.

Below the timeline, you’ll find key documents from our archives available for download.


  • 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.
  • 2025: FCW plans to have 400 new undergraduate students studying water science, 150 new graduate research students and 26 new faculty, researchers and water professionals on board, creating more than 200 new jobs.