Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, June 8, 2012

Division of Student Affairs celebrates sustainability with interactive fair

The Division of Student Affairs hosted an interactive sustainability fair at the Michigan Union on Thursday in celebration of its ongoing efforts to “go green.”


Claire Schorin recycles old computer keyboard keys to decorate a picture frame during the Sustainability Fair. (Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography)


Staff members were encouraged to attend the event and learn of the various projects and programs occurring within the division related to waste reduction and recycling, energy conservation, and creating sustainable operations and business practices.

The event was sponsored by DSA with cooperation from the Office of Campus Sustainability, Parking & Transportation Services, Procurement Services, Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling, Information Technology Services, Sysco Food Systems and student organizations.

“Many units within the Division of Student Affairs are conducting sustainable practices in their operations and there is a lot of crossover,” said Bob Yecke, director of the Michigan League. “Our goal is to spread knowledge of the various projects occurring in our unit, and to identify contacts for collaboration among those involved with sustainability.”

Staff browsed informational displays and listened to brief presentations on initiatives ranging from sustainable computing to the new “Blue Bikes” available for use through a bike-share program managed by Recreational Sports.

Event attendees also participated in interactive activities including:

• A “Swap & Shop” to get rid of unwanted items and pick up new, needed ones.

• Sustainability Jeopardy for a chance to win prizes.

• Craft stations to create new items from collected, reusable materials.

• Chef demonstrations featuring food made with fresh, local produce and ingredients.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout of the event, said Loren Rullman, associate vice president student affairs. “The sustainability fair was educational, motivational and celebratory. It encouraged people to think carefully about sustainability and brought attention to the initiative.”

Exhibit highlights and presentations included:

Liquid ozone cleaning

University Housing implemented the use of a chemical-free cleaning solution in residence halls, and DSA has expanded its use into the Michigan Union and the Michigan League. The eco-friendly cleaning solution is less expensive and just as effective as chemical cleaning. By the end of the 2012, University Housing plans to have implemented its use in all the residence halls with potential savings of an estimated $50,000 annually for the university.

Sustainable food

Chef demonstrations promoted the university’s effort to emphasize the purchase and use of local, seasonal food. University Housing purchases products from 30 local farmers for use in dining hall menus. This fall University Unions will bring fresh produce to the Michigan Union and Palmer Commons during one of three farmers markets occurring on Sept. 13, 27 and Oct. 10.

Planet Blue Ambassador Program

Entering its second year, the two-credit course is open to students living in the residence halls with the goal to create sustainable behavior among students by promoting and modeling environmentally and socially responsible practices. The program is the result of collaboration between University Housing, Graham Sustainability Institute, the Office of Campus Sustainability, the Student Sustainability Initiative and the Voices of the Staff Environmental Stewardship Team.

Sustainability and the Campus

DSA also focuses on student engagement with sustainability. Since 2009, the division has served as a testing ground for many projects stemming from the sustainability course, ENVR 391 — Sustainability and the Campus. Some of the completed piloted programs include two trayless dining pilots, creation of a garden for Outdoor Adventures and, most recently, Sustainable Workplace certification in the Michigan Union.