One of the hallmarks of U-M’s commitment to sustainability is that it is a truly inclusive endeavor. While Michigan boasts hundreds of courses and dozens of academic programs related to the environment and sustainability (many of them housed within Rackham), one does not have to be a sustainability scholar to get involved. U-M’s sustainability initiative — Planet Blue — offers countless opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to make a difference both on and off campus.
One such opportunity of potential interest to graduate students is the recently debuted Planet Blue Ambassador Program. Through this brief online training, participants learn about pressing environmental issues and promising sustainability solutions, particularly as they relate to the University and life in Ann Arbor. The program consists of five 10-minute modules, each corresponding to U-M’s sustainability goals in Energy, Food, Waste, Water, and Community. Each module provides information about the problem, what the University is doing towards solving it, an interactive game, and an opportunity for the user to turn knowledge into action through a wide variety of personal pledges. Those who complete all five modules receive certification as a Planet Blue Ambassador, with follow-up support for carrying it forward into their community and day-to-day life.
For those graduate students employed by the University, there are additional programs for incorporating sustainability into work life. The Office of Campus Sustainability administers the Sustainable Workplace Certification Program and the Sustainable Lab Recognition Program, whereby any U-M faculty or staff member can initiate the process to get their office on the path to sustainability and get recognized for meeting their goals. Later this spring, Planet Blue will roll out their “Green Teams” project, which will provide resources and guidance to U-M employees as they join together and form small working groups to address sustainability issues both at home and on the job.
As you can see, opportunities to build community and create a culture of sustainability on campus abound. For even more ideas, check out U-M’s Student Sustainability Guide, How to Be a Green Wolverine.