Big Ten’s Eco Efforts: University of Michigan

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In the spirit of our “Green Gridirons” series (but just in case college football wasn’t your thing), the “Big Ten’s Eco Efforts” series highlights creative off-the-field sustainability efforts.

The University of Michigan's Planet Blue Ambassadors can either take pre-written pledges or create their own. Photo: University of Michigan.

The University of Michigan’s Planet Blue Ambassadors can either take pre-written pledges or create their own. Photo: University of Michigan.

In January, the University of Michigan launched an online certification program to promote sustainable behaviors and culture. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to join the Planet Blue Ambassadors by completing brief modules about energy, food, waste, water and community.

“Ambassadors earn points per sustainable pledge they complete on their dashboard and earn badges the more pledges they complete,” said Dana Elger, media relations representative at the Office of Public Affairs.

“The program is designed to educate the campus on the various ways they can assist in creating a culture of sustainability and motivate them to act. Competition and recognition is being built into the program in the future,” she said.

More than 1,000 people have participated, and they have made more than 26,000 pledges of action. Participants can select pre-generated pledges or write in their own, said Elger.

Popular pledges include “I will commit to a meatless Monday” and “I will use a reusable water bottle.”

But the write-in pledges have shown some unique ideas. One student wrote, “I will use a rain barrel and continue to limit the use of pesticides in my yard,” while another said, “I will volunteer to remove invasive species from city woods.”

More than 12,000 actions have been completed so far.

 

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