Working to promote & protect the Great Miami River Watershed

Our initiative brings key partners in the Greater Dayton community together to promote, preserve and protect our watershed. Students, faculty and staff work with community members, stakeholders, and local organizations to build community around our rivers. We focus on promoting learning and undergraduate research. Our multifaceted projects bring both the University and the Dayton community to the river.

Who are the Rivers Stewards?

The River Stewards program is the flagship program of the Rivers Institute administered by the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at the University of Dayton. The three-year interdisciplinary program focused on leadership development and civic engagement is based on the model of learn, lead, and serve. River Stewards participate in weekly mini-courses, provide service to the community, and work together to develop a project their senior year. Interested students can apply to become a River Steward in the second semester of their freshman year. Please see the information brochure and application for more information. Currently there are over 45 River Stewards within three cohorts. The River Stewards come from over 25 different majors and represent all undergraduate academic units at the University of Dayton.

Our leadership curriculum is interdisciplinary.

The River Leadership Curriculum provides an interdisciplinary study of rivers and watersheds drawing on work in the natural sciences, social sciences, aesthetics, and public policy. Classes are taught by students, faculty, and community partners with a strong emphasis on experiential learning and leadership development. Four subject areas are integrated and applied to river systems to create this curriculum.

River Science deals with river and stream ecosystems, watersheds, and water. It also includes the importance of water quality, hypoxia, and the watershed concept.

Water, Civilization, and the Common Good talks about access to water, water rights and use, ethical uses of scarce water, and the relationship that civilizations have with water in the past, present and future.

River Cities discusses important aspects for understanding river cities including history, reasons for location, transportation, factors influencing development, role of the river in the economy, art, military strategies, and more.

Sustainability discusses sustainability as the capacity to endure, and views the hydrologic cycle as an important example that helps to sustain the Earth through water purification, moderating Earth's climate, and distributing water for use in Earth's processes.

RiverMobile interior

The RiverMobile: A mobile Learning Studio

Education remains a dedicated area of focus for the Rivers Institute. Our latest venture is the RiverMobile, a mobile learning studio. The 53-foot tractor-trailer travels to schools and communities throughout the Great Miami Watershed. Five uniquely fabricated classrooms deliver an experiential education that enables the exploration of our watershed, history, aquifer, rivers, and our global responsibility, all in one place.

While this experience is generally geared toward middle school students, it presents a message and a medium that is appealing to learners of all ages. Choose the Request Form in the blue For More Information box on this page to start the process of bringing the RiverMobile to your group of learners.

Please contact the Rivers Institute if you wish to learn about our other educational outreach initiatives.

The annual River Summit is a regional endeavor.

The River Summit is a regional endeavor to link cities, farmland, communities, and individuals, to develop a regional strategy which leverages our most unique asset, the Great Miami and Mad Rivers. Recognizing the need to bring communities together around the river and the watershed, the Rivers Institute at the University of Dayton and the Ohio's Great Corridor Association (OGCA) collaborate to help communities realize the untapped potential our River Corridors have for our region, both economically and socially.

The Ohio's Great Corridor Association is excited to announce the 2015 River Summit Keynote Speaker. On March 20th, the All American City of Owensboro will come and share their newest riverfront developments and success. The team from Owensboro will include the mayor and other key players who helped solidify the funding and community support. Please join us in March to learn more about how this quaint Kentucky river city re-imagined their future and created the vision to get them there! To learn more about Owensboro and their riverfront development, visit their website:

Watch a YouTube video about Downtown Owensboro (www) >>

Please check back for complete details and registration information for the 8th Annual River Summit.

Contact us.

The Rivers Institute at the University of Dayton
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-1480
phone: 937-229-4665
fax: 937-229-4638

River Reflections at the University of Dayton

Our blog tells the story of the River Stewards at the University of Dayton. You can also find us on Instagram. Check us out. Be a part of it all.