Initiatives and Projects

Since the launch of Central Sustainability in August 2020, we have been committed to collaborating with campus partners, creating education materials and resources, pursuing policies, and initiating projects to better the CMU community.

Ongoing partnerships

We have had the amazing opportunity to connect with various organizations in Michigan. Some are mentioned on this page such as: the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, CMU Honors Program, Residence Life, Take Back The Tap, CMU Sierra Club, the Student Government Association, Campus Ambassadors, the Residence Housing Association, the Mount Pleasant Citizens' Climate Lobby, the City of Mount Pleasant, the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, and many more. 

We are members of the Michigan Campus Sustainability Collective (MICSC), a committee comprised of sustainability representatives from 20-30 Michigan universities and colleges. On Oct. 22, we moderated a panel entitled "environmental justice actions for college students" for the Michigan Campus Earth Day 50.5, hosted by the Michigan Campus Sustainability Collective and Michigan State University. 

Thanks to these partnerships, we're able to put on events, collaborate on projects, create and distribute resources, and integrate sustainability into every facet of the campus community and university functions!

Our Student Sustainability Leadership Committee meets monthly and includes representatives from a number of student organizations. This committee works to share different resources/events and collaborate on sustainability oriented-projects. If you're interested in having your group represented, please contact sustainability@cmich.edu.

Campus resources and education

Sustainability walking tours

We created two different walking tours designed to show the unique parts of campus that often go unnoticed. Learn the various types of sustainability with our  Sustainability Walking Tour. Explore the unique art we have on campus and understand its role in relation to sustainability with our  Campus Art Tour.

During walking tours, we take participants on an adventure all across campus and talk sustainability. We invite you to join us for a walk and learn more about campus resources, coalition-building, environmental justice, art, advocacy, and community health, among a number of other topics. The tour takes about two hours, so make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, a bottle of water, and a spirited attitude!

If you're interested in going on our walking tour, email sustainability@cmich.edu and ask to be added to the mailing list for walking tour updates.

Sustainable living guide

With our Sustainable Living Guide, we hope to educate and improve the public perception of sustainability. This document serves as a guide on how to incorporate sustainability into campus life through community-building, education, and healthy habits. The guide includes tips on how to reduce waste, get civically involved, support local businesses, and so much more! 

We are always working with various on-campus organizations to help us distribute this living guide, and we hope to eventually include the guide into orientation resources.

Ethnobotanical garden

We worked with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College to create an ethnobotanical garden on-campus, which can be found behind the Fabiano Botanical Gardens near St. Mary's Parish. The garden was planted in June 2021.

An ethnobotanical garden represents the traditional knowledge and customs of local culture and people. This garden features the Three Sisters, a combination of three plants that work together and support one another. Cultural sustainability is a form of sustainability that focuses on celebrating cultural beliefs and practices, respecting heritage conservation and honoring identities. This garden serves as a gesture of respect to members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and honors the rich culture of the Anishinaabek peoples.

Content creation

We  have a blog, which we use to share what we're doing, promote sustainability, and highlight members of the community. Our  YouTube channel is another platform for us to do that in conjunction with CMU Facilities Management, so follow us there to keep up with our work!

Regular presentations

Every year, we present to the CMU Student Government Association on our initiatives, sustainability efforts on-campus, and how students can get involved. In the spring, we also present at the annual Diversity Symposium. We have presented to various student organizations such as the Residence Housing Association, Central Votes, and the SGA Sustainability Committee.

We are always willing to present, so if you're interested in having us talk about sustainability to your group, please email sustainability@cmich.edu.

Events and coordinating

Annual Earth Week Conference

We collaborated with a number of student groups to create a formal, CMU Earth Week Conference. We worked with the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, the CMU Center for International Ethics, Take Back the Tap, the Student Environmental Alliance, Sierra Club and the CMU Student Government Association, among many others. Visit the Central Sustainability YouTube channel for  event recordings.

This was the first Earth Week Conference at CMU, but we hope this becomes an annual event. Check out the week itinerary on our website to see what events you can look forward to seeing return in April 2022. 

2020 Central Michigan Climate Solutions Summit

In addition to sponsoring the Oct. 16 Central Michigan Climate Solutions Summit in 2020, we worked closely with the coordinators to promote the event, collect tabling video submissions and release a promotional video for the event. All of the information, including recordings of the event, is still available on our website.

Institutionalizing sustainability

DEI awareness course

We worked with our supervisor out of the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to incorporate sustainability into the DEI Awareness Course that all incoming freshmen and transfer students are required to complete. To learn more about sustainability's role in DEI, visit our Sustainability and Equity tab.

Sustainable purchasing policy

We created the Sustainable Purchasing Policy, which has been reviewed and approved by the university's cabinet. This policy requires a commitment from the university to purchase materials that have been sustainably made and have green certifications.

Data Collection

Sustainability Tracking Assessment Reporting System

As part of our commitment to monitoring sustainability, we have submitted the STARS report on behalf of CMU. This report outlines CMU's sustainability standing, what is being done at the university, and where CMU is lacking in relation to sustainability. For the first time ever, the CMU STARS reports have been submitted for a gold ranking as of October 2020. The next STARS submission will be finalized in 2023.

Sustainability survey

In October 2020, we released a  survey to gauge the knowledge of sustainability in the campus community and help guide future projects. The survey was only released to students living on campus, and we received approximately 600 responses. If you're interested in learning more about our findings,  check out our 2020 survey report. Our survey and report were presented to the Michigan Campus Sustainability Collective in January 2021.

See our most recent  2021 Campus Sustainability Survey report!

Future projects

Although we are still dedicated to our current projects, we're always looking forward with more collaboration and initiatives.

We were not able to include all of our current, past and future projects and initiatives, but follow our blog to keep up with our work. If you have any questions or are interested in collaboration, please reach out to us at  sustainability@cmich.edu.