Graham Sustainability Institute

Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund Projects

This project intends to put bee-hives on a roof on central campus and to also establish a honeybee sanctuary at the Campus Farm. Honeybees are essential to food security and are key to sustainable ecosystems— 1 in 3 bites of food is the direct result of honeybee pollination. This projects aims to raise awareness among students’ of the importance of bees and to partner with professors and classes for research and teaching opportunities. Bees on Roofs/ Roofs on Bees hopes to launch by June 2014 and the project leads are Mike Bianco, a Master’s student in Art and Design, and Parker Anderson, a Master’s Student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Landscape Architecture, in collaboration with UM Bees.

Through modified recycling lids, signage, and a volunteer campaign, the program hopes to increase the average recycling rate per season at the Michigan Football Stadium, which may set the stage for a future Zero Waste Stadium initiative in the long-term. Hannah Sherman, Kai Norden, Sarah Perry

Aims to enhance the accessibility of biking on campus through the installation of public air pumps on both the central and north campuses, the installation of a fix-it station with bike repair tools, and the development of repair workshops in collaboration with Common Cycle. Arielle Fleisher

This team will be installing a Block ‘M’ solar array in a visible and student-centric location on campus in order to symbolize the university’s commitment to carbon neutrality and educate students about the value of renewable energy. The ultimate hope is to integrate a visual symbol of what renewable energy can look on our campus while endeavoring to change the campus culture around sustainability and energy use.

Blueprints For Pangaea, a 501(c)(3) medical surplus recovery organization, works with health systems by taking their costly overflow of supplies destined for landfills and reallocating them to countries with poor healthcare infrastructure.  The student chapter at the University of Michigan has partnered with Michigan Medicine and neighboring state university institutions to divert medical surplus supplies. Using funds from PBSIF, they are able to more effectively identify hospitals in need of medical supplies and coordinate their efforts accordingly while bridging the gaps between humanity and sustainability.

The University of Michigan Campus Farm is a project of the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP). The mission of UMSFP is to foster collaborative leadership that empowers students to create a sustainable food system at the U-M and become change agents for a vibrant planet. The Campus Farm provides a living-learning laboratory, offering educational resources for volunteers, classes and community members in organic farming, sustainability, small business practices and more. Fostering a culture of sustainability on campus, the Campus Farm reduces food waste, and delivers student-grown produce to campus dining locations.

A new partnership with Michigan Dining through Fields Café in Palmer Commons shows great promise. In order to effectively supply food to Fields Café during the academic year, the Campus Farm will need to both extend its growing season into the academic year as well as streamline delivery processes. We will explore the possibility of season extension of the Farm operations to increase faculty and student engagement during the fall and spring. This would provide more time for class visits and other engaged learning opportunities.

Student team: Jacob Grochowski, Nicholas Machinski. Administrative Support: Robert Grese, M.S.L.A, Director, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Michigan SNRE; Catriona Mortell-Windecker, Academic Programs Team Lead, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Supporting Student Group: Cultivating Community, University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program.

The primary goal of the EVOLVE conference is to display to the University of Michigan how sustainability and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies are essential considerations in everyone’s careers and daily lives. On campus, concerns for the planet have been relegated to a periphery of students in the environmental sciences. This is a dangerous conclusion as the challenges of climate change will inevitably impact everyone. At this annual conference, students will discover how sustainability directly or indirectly applies to them. This will happen through a series of speakers, panel discussions, debates, and presentations from professionals. Top level business professionals, government officials, and renowned leaders will be brought in to urgently communicate the necessity of collective action in the face of climate change.

Student Team: Jack Hyland, Peter Dolan, Brooke Kahl, and Abby Potts

By providing a drive-up e-waste collection event on campus, this project team aims to both provide a free, easy-to-use service to the campus community and increase awareness about the sustainability and global environmental justice issues surrounding the disposal of e-waste. Ultimately, their hope is to establish a recurring e-waste event to be funded by the university.

Through this funding, the Engineering Student Government Sustainability Committee will purchase 2 G690 VERDE status ECO-POWR treadmills, which capture energy from human exercise and send electricity back into the building through a standard outlet. The project intends to increase visibility and student support for clean energy by placing them in the North Campus Recreation Building.

With a Fall 2014 intended launch date, this project will start an Environmental Community Program (ECP) within the Michigan Community Scholars Program Michigan Learning Community. Many students at the University of Michigan have a passion for sustainability and the environment. ECP will give students, specifically incoming freshmen, the opportunity to explore environmental issues and problem solving and will help create the next generation of sustainability leaders. The project team includes: Mary Hirt, LSA; Jessica Kreamer, LSA; Karishma Satapathy, LSA; and Danielle Schmutz a master’s student in the school of social work.