Students make a difference PBSL-style

Keith Soster
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Crede Strauser, a sophomore U-M business and Spanish major, always been incredibly passionate about the impact of human activity on the environment. That’s why becoming a PBSL (Planet Blue Student Leader) was an easy choice.

“With a campus of this size, I was looking for an opportunity to educate the community about various means of reducing their footprint and helping move the University closer to its 2025 goals and beyond. The Planet Blue Student Leader program matched perfectly with my aspirations,” he says.

PBSLs assist with sustainability projects and are empowered to carry out their own sustainability initiatives and campaigns with resource and staff support. The students work with a number of campus departments and organizations to benefit the environment. Leaders spend approximately 3-5 hours per week on their responsibilities and programming, including outreach to their hall community, planning, project work, and attending trainings. The position is paid.

By working with peers and staff to implement sustainability projects, students gain hands-on experience and are trained in leadership and communication skills on how to effectively engage others in sustainability.

It’s a group that Crede says defines the idea of working together to make an impact.

“I am really fond of the network of sustainability-oriented and like-minded individuals the PBSL program has helped me to establish. Whenever I don’t have the answer, I can count on someone else on the team to step in and move the needle forward,” he explains.

PBSLs can work in varying areas and focus on campus and in the community.

“I mostly work with educational events on campus and am getting ready to launch a water conservation campaign in the Rec Sports facilities and some informational material in residential halls about sustainable hygiene. Looking ahead, the team is in the planning stages of a ‘Waste Dinner’ in collaboration with M|Dining. The event will showcase the use of traditionally discarded food parts in a completely nutritional and insightful meal,” he says.

The event is tentatively scheduled to occur this March.

Students from all majors and schools/colleges are encouraged to apply. Preference is for applicants who will live in University Housing, but off-campus students are welcome to apply. Statement of interest forms can be found at

“If you’re passionate about the future of this campus and its environmental impact and want to turn your ideas into action, the PBSL program is one of the best opportunities available on campus and has been a gateway to getting involved in additional clubs and activities on campus. Even better, students across campus come to the PBSLs as a resource for sustainability on campus and engaging others in this space has been extremely rewarding,” Crede says.

So if you know a student with a passion for sustainability, help them start making a difference on Planet Blue!

Keith Soster is the Director of Student Engagement for MDining. At the core of Keith’s work is outreach, putting him in constant with students, suppliers and campus stakeholders with a focus on advancing initiatives for a greener, healthier campus. He is responsible for student and community connections both on and off campus and serves as the sustainability lead for Student Life.