2018 Planet Blue Guide

Stay in the Loop!


Check out EarthFest every September on the Diag to learn more about sustainability on campus while enjoying food, entertainment and activities! sustainability.umich.edu/earthfest.

Join us for events throughout the year. Anything on the U-M events calendar tagged as “sustainability” will display on sustainability.umich.edu/events.

The City of Ann Arbor

The City of Ann Arbor has its own Climate Action Plan and resources available at a2gov.org/sustainability.

Ann Arbor is home to many environmental nonprofit organizations with paid and volunteer opportunities for students such as the Ecology Center, the Huron River Watershed Council, and the National Wildlife Federation. 

Welcome to Planet Blue 

Planet Blue is the University of Michigan’s unified commitment to sustainability education, research, operations, and engagement. It is the collective effort of our entire campus community to live, work, and learn more sustainably.

Together we are working to achieve campus sustainability goals in the areas of climate action, waste prevention, healthy environments, and community awareness. 

What Can You Do?

To help U-M continue to be the leaders and best in sustainability you can:

  • Reduce Energy Use
  • Walk, Bike, or Bus
  • Reduce Waste
  • Choose Sustainable Foods
  • Keep the Huron River Clean 
  • Be Part of Planet Blue 

What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability is for everyone. It means safeguarding our planet while striving to improve the lives of people around the world, now and in the future. 

Courses & Scholarships

Check out the more than 700 sustainability related courses, minors, concentrations, and supplemental studies programs available at U-M: sustainability.umich.edu/education.

The Program in the Environment (PitE) offers an interdisciplinary major grounded in the liberal arts. Students gain skills in the natural and social sciences as well as in the humanities. 

Apply to the Graham Sustainability Scholars to join an interdisciplinary sustainability leadership program and receive funding for field-based experiences.

Healthy Environments

2025 Goal: Reducing the volume of land management chemicals used on campus by 40 percent.

Progress: Goal Achieved!

2025 Goal: Purchase 20 percent of U-M food in accordance with U-M Sustainable Food Purchasing Guidelines

Progress: Purchased 14 percent

Current U-M Initiatives

  • Organic fertilizers and non-toxic weed treatments are used on the Diag lawn.
  • Michigan Dining partners with the Campus Farm and other local farms to buy produce and other products.
  • M Farmers Markets are offered across campus and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is open all 52 weeks of the year.

Get Involved

  • Keep litter off the streets and out of storm drains.
  • Shorten your showers to less than 5 minutes – if you have a radio, that’s about 2 songs.
  • Report leaks to the U-M online FIXIT system.
  • Try local, sustainable foods.
  • Go meatless on Monday – or any day!
  • Volunteer at the Campus Farm, Nichols Arboretum, or Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Waste Prevention

2025 Goal: Reduce waste sent to landfills by 40%

Progress: Reduced by 3 percent

Current U-M Initiatives

  • All Big House football games are zero waste.
  • All residential dining halls and Michigan Dining locations compost food waste.
  • Bursley Hall, East Quad, South Quad, Oxford Houses and Munger Graduate Residences have compost bins in every hall closet, on every floor.

Get Involved

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in that order. 
  • Know where to throw! Standardized signs on every bin can help you dispose of items correctly. 
  • Use your Planet Blue or other reusable water bottle and bring a reusable bag when you shop.
  • Make your next event zero-waste: sustainability.umich.edu/ssi/zero-waste.
  • Participate in special move-in and move-out recycling and reuse opportunities available in residence halls and for off-campus students.
  • Print double sided – or not at all!
  • Coordinate with roommates to ensure you are not buying too much of one thing or unnecessary duplicates.

Climate Action

2025 Goal: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25%

Progress: Reduced by 5 percent

2025 Goal: Reduce carbon intensity of passenger trips by 30%

Progress: Reduced by 15 percent

Current U-M Initiatives

  • Approved expansion of the Central Power Plant will provide cleaner energy to campus.
  • New buildings and renovations exceed LEED Silver green building and ASHRAE energy standards. 
  • All U-M students, faculty, and staff can ride U-M buses as well as AAATA buses for free.

Get Involved

  • Walk, bike, or ride the bus, or if you have to drive, organize a carpool.
  • Only wash your laundry in full loads, and avoid using hot water.
  • Turn off and unplug electronics when not in use.
  • Keep U-M thermostats set between 68ºF and 76ºF.
  • Take advantage of energy saving modes on your computer.

Community Awareness

2025 Goal: Educate our community, track behavior, and report on progress over time.

Progress: We measure our success at U-M through the Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program survey and our AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) STARS score. The Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program surveys U-M students, faculty, and staff on sustainability awareness and behaviors. Learn more at graham.umich.edu/campus/scip. The U-M maintains a Gold STARS rating from AASHE.

Get Involved

  • Planet Blue Ambassador Program – Complete a short training to become a certified Planet Blue Ambassador and get engaged in campus sustainability. Visit sustainability.umich.edu/pba.
  • Planet Blue Student Leaders provide resources and assist in campus-wide sustainability projects through Student Life. 
  • The Sustainable Living Experience residential program at Oxford Houses engages first-year students in sustainability practices and leadership.
  • Visit the Student Sustainability Initiative webpage to learn more about sustainability student organizations and funding opportunities including the Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund, up to $50k for on-campus projects: sustainability.umich.edu/ssi