Become a Student Leader


A Planet Blue Student Leader (PBSL) is a paid, part-time student position. This unique opportunity empowers students passionate about sustainability, from any discipline, to work with campus and community partners to plan and implement collaborative sustainability projects and offer sustainability education and programming. Throughout the fall and winter semesters, the program affords students with hands-on experience with sustainability at an institutional, governmental, and business level.  Additionally, the PBSL program is committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders today by providing mentoring, career opportunities, and an emphasis on building high-performing teams. If you’re ready to be at the forefront of the surging sustainability movement at Michigan, PBSL may be the right fit for you!


    Please submit the following materials in one document via email to Keith Soster at

    • Resume
    • An applicant statement describing what you will bring to the Planet Blue Student Leader team in terms of personal qualities, interests, and experience. (No more than 300 words.)
    • In addition, please mention ways (if any) you have been involved in campus sustainability to-date. (No more than 200 words.)
    • Discuss the definition and characteristics of a leader. To support your response, describe a specific experience where you chose to step forward in a team or how another individual’s leadership skills either positively or negatively affected you or the team. How does this definition and prior experience translate to the role of a student leader on campus? (max 500 words)


    Planet Blue Student Leader Clare picture and quote

    • Attend a 1-day paid orientation and weekly meetings
    • Commit to a minimum of 5-8 work hours per week. Willingness to work in excess of 12 hours per week during peak periods.
    • Facilitate active relationship with assigned dining and housing units.
    • Conduct Planet Blue trainings and educate others about University Sustainability Goals.
    • Work collaboratively with other university departments and staff to broaden the reach of sustainability on campus.
    • Complete a small-group project in addition to all-team responsibilities.
    • Weekly attendance at group-scheduled meetings.


    • Must be registered as a full time (undergraduate or graduate) student and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    • Active participation in the PBSL program for a minimum of one full academic year
    • Demonstrated passion for sustainability (formal classes and experience in sustainability not required)
      • motivated to implement sustainability on campus
    • Must be able to attend weekly team meetings on Fridays 11-1pm
      • Minimal summer onboarding commitment
    • Strong group work skills
      • Demonstrated communication, flexibility, leadership
      • A self-driven work ethic to keep self-accountable
      • Experience in peer-peer education


    Application closes

    • Returning PBSL: April 15th
    • Existing U-M Students: May 15th
    • Incoming U-M Students: June 15th

    Interviews extended

    • Returning: Early May
    • Existing U-M: Late May-Early June
    • Incoming U-M: Late June


    • Late June for all applicants


    The following resources are available for interested applicants


    For more information on the program, see



    Q: How big is the Planet Blue Student Leader team?
    A:  We aim to hire a team of 10-12 students. 

    Q: I don’t study sustainability, can I still apply?
    A: Yes! You are strongly encouraged to apply regardless of field of study.

    Q: Is there a class component to the PBSL job?
    A: No, this is strictly a campus job and is not taken for credit.  

    Q: Can I apply my work-study award?
    A:  Yes, work-study is accepted. 

    Q: Will there be work requirements during academic breaks and final exams?
    A: No, PBSLs are students first and are expected to prioritize their academics.

    Q: Are there opportunities to connect with PBSLs outside of work?
    A:  Yes, social events are organized by PBSLs and are highly encouraged! 

    Q: I am an incoming freshman, can I still apply?
    A:  Yes! The PBSL program is open to U-M students at all levels of academic standing, including graduate students. 

    Q: Where is PBSL work regularly conducted?
    A:  It depends.  Weekly meetings are held Friday afternoons in the West Quad administrative suite.  Other work will take place at various locations on and off-campus based on small group projects and assigned dining and housing units. 

    Q: What are some examples of projects PBSLs have done in the past?
    A: Host bi-annual Waste Dinner, volunteer at zero-waste events, launched IFC Sustainability Initiative, sponsored first annual spring move-out donation program, developed M|Print Sustainability Dashboard, Planet Blue Ambassador Trainings, started post-consumer compost pilot project in all residence halls, sponsor reusable water bottle distributions

    Q: I am not local to Michigan in the summers, will this affect my application?
    A: No, the summer component (including interviews) can be virtual!