Funded PBSIF Projects

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The living wall at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens aims to use space creatively and promote vertical gardening techniques while demonstrating sustainable architecture that can reduce carbon emissions and purify the air. After its completion, visitors will be able to observe how solar pumps and rainwater catchments conserve water in this sustainable art installation.

Student Lead: Shawn Farrell

Administrative Support: Professor Robert Grese, Theodore Roosevelt Chair of Ecosystem Management, Director, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum


Food Recovery Network’s project aims to to recover food from Martha Cook, Oxford, and other dining halls on campus by buying refrigerators and coolers to keep the food cool before recoveries. The PBSIF grant will allow FRN to begin recovering food from every dining hall on campus in the next year.

This project will help reduce the amount of food wasted on campus, decreasing the carbon footprint of the university, and work towards the university wide sustainability goals. Food waste contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, and while Michigan Dining has made great strides to handle post-consumer food waste through composting and other efforts, Food Recovery Network helps reduce waste on a pre-consumer level. This project will help Michigan Dining comply with the EPA’s Food Recovery hierarchy model by helping feed hungry people with the unused food. FRN continues to transform the way communities view and handle surplus food with hopes that food recovery will become as commonplace as recycling.

Student Team: Anne Grech, Jenna Endsley, Jenny Pieczynski, Max Gaegauf, Jordan Priest, Sachie Kakehi, Monica Nedeltchev, and Josh Kim.

The University of Michigan Strawbale Project at the Campus Farm is an off-grid strawbale building that will embrace natural building techniques, emphasize experiential learning, and expand sustainable food operations. This project will take place at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in May of 2018 and will be the first permanent student-constructed building on the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus. The building will be constructed by a combination of Program in the Environment, College of Engineering, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Stamps School of Art & Design students who are enrolled in either a 300 level or 400 level green building course. This building will serve as the heart of the University of Michigan Campus Farm and provide a multi-functional space for students, volunteers, public visitors, and members of the U-M community. The building will provide a number of different uses including a location for hosting events, a lunchroom, meeting space, weather shelter, and an exhibition space intended to educate visitors about sustainability and natural building. Ultimately, the University of Michigan Strawbale Project at the Campus Farm will act as a benchmark, setting the standard for sustainability efforts and engaged learning practices at the University of Michigan. 

Student Team: Margaret Lemak, Ian Crowley, Kingsli Kraft, Lian Wardrop, Rachel Beglin, Kate Samra, Connor Kippe, Lauren Hoff, Aaron Brodkey, Sara Farooqui, Wendy Zhuo, and Jennifer Siciliano.

Administrative Support: Joseph Trumpey, Associate Professor, School of Art & Design; Bob Grese, Professor, Theodore Roosevelt Chair in Ecosystem Management and Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum; Jeremy Moghtader, U-M Campus Farm Manager; Alex Bryan, U-M Sustainable Food Program Manager


The primary vision of this project is to power lamp posts around central campus with renewable energy. Long term, the team hopes to increase student awareness of sustainability initiatives and contribute to changing the campus culture around sustainability.

Student Team: Matthew Spinelli, Katherine Mather, Alexander Wood, Allison Carroll, Joseph Taylor, and Charlotte Allen.

Administrative Support: Adam Simon, Associate Professor of Environment; Andy Berki, Office of Campus Sustainability Director; Ken Keeler, Office of Campus Sustainability - Senior Sustainability Representative

The primary goal of the EVOLVE conference is to display to the University of Michigan how sustainability and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies are essential considerations in everyone’s careers and daily lives. On campus, concerns for the planet have been relegated to a periphery of students in the environmental sciences. This is a dangerous conclusion as the challenges of climate change will inevitably impact everyone. At this annual conference, students will discover how sustainability directly or indirectly applies to them. This will happen through a series of speakers, panel discussions, debates, and presentations from professionals. Top level business professionals, government officials, and renowned leaders will be brought in to urgently communicate the necessity of collective action in the face of climate change.

Student Team: Jack Hyland, Peter Dolan, Brooke Kahl, and Abby Potts

An insect operation that will raise black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), a non-pest type of fly native to tropical and temperate regions of the world. As the larvae consume organic waste from the campus and Ann Arbor community, the project facility will divert waste from landfills such as fruit and vegetable scraps and spent brewers grains. Moreover, it will serve as an educational initiative to showcase sustainable alternative food for students and Ann Arbor community members. The facility will generate 50 pounds of BSFL per month and in the process divert 500 pounds of local organic waste, preventing the equivalent of nearly 5 tons of C02 emissions per year that would be created by our community. Excess insects not utilized for programming and community outreach are sold as feed to the agricultural community to keep the operation running and to foster sustainable relations even off campus.

Student Team: Eric Katz, William Horne III, Jonathan Luthy, Robert Pigg, and Timothy Schumacher.

External Partners: Arbor Brewing Company, Kulisha, Mad Agriculture, International Centre of Insect Physiology, and Ecology, Washtenaw Food Hub, and the greater Washtenaw community.


The University of Michigan Campus Farm is a project of the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP). The mission of UMSFP is to foster collaborative leadership that empowers students to create a sustainable food system at the U-M and become change agents for a vibrant planet. The Campus Farm provides a living-learning laboratory, offering educational resources for volunteers, classes and community members in organic farming, sustainability, small business practices and more. Fostering a culture of sustainability on campus, the Campus Farm reduces food waste, and delivers student-grown produce to campus dining locations.

A new partnership with Michigan Dining through Fields Café in Palmer Commons shows great promise. In order to effectively supply food to Fields Café during the academic year, the Campus Farm will need to both extend its growing season into the academic year as well as streamline delivery processes. We will explore the possibility of season extension of the Farm operations to increase faculty and student engagement during the fall and spring. This would provide more time for class visits and other engaged learning opportunities.

Student team: Jacob Grochowski, Nicholas Machinski.  
Administrative Support: Robert Grese, M.S.L.A, Director, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Michigan SNRE;  Catriona Mortell-Windecker, Academic Programs Team Lead, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.
Supporting Student Group: Cultivating Community, University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program.

With the rising costs of tuition and the inconvenience of local grocery stores, food insecurity for U-M students has significantly increased. Many students do not have the financial means to afford groceries from higher-priced food markets close to campus, nor the time for the 1.5-hour round-trip bus ride to a more affordable grocery store. The U-M campus and city area adjacent to campus has become a “food desert,” with minimal and expensive options for students to purchase food.

Maize & Blue Cupboard is a student-run organization that addresses all levels of student food insecurity on campus by holding monthly food distributions. We believe all students, whether on a tight budget or physically restrained from getting to a grocery store, deserve access to healthy and affordable food. The Cupboard meets the needs of students by forming a complete sustainable circle of food waste. We source our food from Food Gatherers, a local food rescue organization, to create a path for food rescued from grocery stores to get into the hands of those who need it instead of it being wasted. Then, with any leftover food remaining, we continue its food rescue path to more people in need by donating the remainder of our food to Community Action Network.

Student Team: Zoe Hawtof, Michael Tang, Luke Shenton, Madeline Rabe, Anet Szatkowski, Forest Burczak.
Partner: Food Gatherers

Our project team will create a Living Learning Laboratory (LLL) to engage the U-M community in developing sustainable campus waste management solutions. Currently, U-M sends over 12,000 tons of waste to a landfill; by 2025, U-M aims to reduce this to 7,900 tons. The team will focus on evaluating systems for capturing energy (biogas) from waste rather than allowing it to be emitted as greenhouse gas (GHG) from landfills.

Student Team:  Julie Bateman, Seth Buchsbaum, Sampurna Datta, Dr. Xunchang Fei, Dr. Xavier Fonoll Almansa, T.J. Plegue, Jacob Villarreal Pohlenz.
Advisors: Dr. Dimitrios Zekkos, Dr. Lutgarde Raskin, Dr. Jerome P. Lynch.


Through modified recycling lids, signage, and a volunteer campaign, the program hopes to increase the average recycling rate per season at the Michigan Football Stadium, which may set the stage for a future Zero Waste Stadium initiative in the long-term. Hannah Sherman, Kai Norden, Sarah Perry

This project hopes to provide a sustainable, experiential learning garden that engages the medical campus and local community in the practices of gardening, nutrition education, food security, and overall health and wellness. Katie Goldrath, Sara McLaughlin, Sarah Akkina, Meredith Hickson, Sarah Bliss, Anthony Hage, Rebecca Mutesi.

Using the design for a rainwater catchment and irrigation system implemented by the group in Nicaragua previously, BLUElab seeks to implement the system at the Campus Farm to promote sustainable agriculture and campus collaboration. Joseph Pohlman, Srishti Pillutla, Kyle Reynolds, Ryan Kuhn, Kate Yuhas and Adam Basson


This project intends to put bee-hives on a roof on central campus and to also establish a honeybee sanctuary at the Campus Farm. Honeybees are essential to food security and are key to sustainable ecosystems— 1 in 3 bites of food is the direct result of honeybee pollination. This projects aims to raise awareness among students’ of the importance of bees and to partner with professors and classes for research and teaching opportunities. Bees on Roofs/ Roofs on Bees hopes to launch by June 2014 and the project leads are Mike Bianco, a Master’s student in Art and Design, and Parker Anderson, a Master’s Student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Landscape Architecture, in collaboration with UM Bees.

With a Fall 2014 intended launch date, this project will start an Environmental Community Program (ECP) within the Michigan Community Scholars Program Michigan Learning Community. Many students at the University of Michigan have a passion for sustainability and the environment. ECP will give students, specifically incoming freshmen, the opportunity to explore environmental issues and problem solving and will help create the next generation of sustainability leaders. The project team includes: Mary Hirt, LSA; Jessica Kreamer, LSA; Karishma Satapathy, LSA; and Danielle Schmutz a master’s student in the school of social work.

This project aims to help create a culture of reuse at the University of Michigan by establishing student-run, event-based compost programs within four academic units across campus. This work is an outgrowth of the successful composting efforts conducted by the Law School and the Student Sustainability Initiative. The project lead is Chris Wolff, a Master’s student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Ford School of Public Policy.

Waste reduction is one of the University's most urgent sustainability goals. One of the main culprits of waste on campus is the dining halls and Food Recovery Network (FRN) aims to do something about it. FRN diverts leftover food from UM Dining Halls to local food banks. They are currently successfully running this effort in two campus dining halls; with PBSIF funding that will support the purchase of freezers, trays and coolers, FRN will able to expand the program to all campus dining halls by June 2015. The FRN team includes: Hannah Gingerich; PiTE, Joseph Letner, Biomedical Engineering, and Taylor Flowers, SAC/ Communications.

This project, that also has a Fall 2014 launch date, will replace some of the turf grass at the Music school pond with native grasses. The native grass will help reestablish the natural ecological system at the pond and the team will be looking for volunteers in the Fall to help with planting efforts! Project leads include: Dagmar Schoettle, LSA and Avery Gleason, LSA.

With a Fall 2014 expected launch date, this project will place picnic tables equipped with solar-powered charging stations on north and central campus and aims to show just how easy it can be to incorporate solar into everyday life. With these tables, the desire to enjoy a hot sunny day will no longer be an excuse to not do homework! This project will also include an educational campaign about solar energy. The team includes Laura Hobbs, LS&A and Matt Irish, Chemical Engineering.


A reusable dishware program that aims to assist in efforts to reduce waste at the University of Michigan. The program would allow student organizations to rent dishes and silverware for their events. The Go Blue Ware program would eliminate the purchase, use, and disposal of all paper, plastic, and Styrofoam products for student programs and events, making funds available to students for the purchase of sustainable food or other like products. Arielle Fleisher, Megan Pfeiffer, Dana Rollison, Julia Winfield

Since U-M produces future leaders, it is important that they have exposure to the design mechanisms and practices of complex and closed loop systems in nature. Using permaculture design is innovative and having it in a visible area where students can be naturally engaged to volunteer and/or eat the food is a key component to this endeavor. The purpose of a satellite garden is to expose more students to the educational opportunities that reside within a campus farm. Madeline Dunn