On Sept. 27, University President Mary Sue Coleman announced the University’s new sustainability goals, as well as the creation of the Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund (PBSIF) — an exciting new program offering $5,000 to $50,000 grants for student-initiated, large-scale campus sustainability projects. With guaranteed funding of $50,000 per year for the next three years, PBSIF provides an unbelievable opportunity for students to build a sustainable campus based on our ideas and visions.

These funds are intended to encourage a wide range of collaborative and interdisciplinary sustainability projects that will reduce the University’s ecological footprint and enhance the culture of sustainability on campus. In addition, as an initiative rooted in engaging students more deeply in sustainability, all proposed projects are required to be led by students or have students on their team. Partnerships between students, staff, faculty and even community members are encouraged as a way to maximize project success and ensure completion and long-term sustainability.

Since Coleman’s announcement, there have been many articles and viewpoints in The Michigan Daily urging the administration to boost sustainability at the University in some way or another. Now it’s our turn to do more than simply talk about what we can do better — it’s our chance to take some major action. PBSIF offers an opportunity for us to take campus sustainability into our own hands, to not only cultivate the sustainable changes we want to see, but to show the administration that we are willing to get our hands dirty and put in the work to move the University in a more sustainable direction.

PBSIF is for big ideas, innovation and pushing the boundaries of what has previously been done at the University. Envision the sustainable University you want to see, and consider what projects are needed to get us there. What’s your vision for Planet Blue? We hope to hear your answer in a preliminary concept submission in November or in a final proposal submitted in January.

Visit sustainability.umich.edu/planet-blue-student-innovation-fund for more information about PBSIF.

Abby Krumbein
LSA Senior

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