In 2010, President Mary Sue Coleman created the Environmental Sustainability Executive Council and the Office of Campus Sustainability. This was a huge step for the University. However, Michigan has a long way to go. The way to get there is with us, the students. We are the movers and shakers of this university. This school exists to serve the student body. Without us, it would cease to exist. It’s up to us to determine what programs Michigan will support and the next steps we will take towards toward sustainability.
Ample opportunities exist that allow students to get more educated or involved in sustainable practices: EarthFest, Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, Planet Blue, Student Sustainability Initiative and the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program are just a few. For example, the UM Sustainable Food Program unites all student groups interested in, you guessed it, sustainable food.
This includes a wide range of possible ways to get involved: you can sell food (Brassica), farm food (Friends of the Campus Farm; Cultivating Community) and celebrate food (Harvest Festival). Cultivating Community educates students about leadership in community food systems. The garden is located near the Gingsberg Center right on campus. You can get your hands dirty and learn about what it takes to farm and grow your own organic produce.
With such a wide range of opportunities, there’s a place for any student looking to get involved in making the campus more sustainable, all it takes is passion. Without students acting as drivers and triggers of change, actions and plans will not be able to take shape. We need to lead the university to action.