Become a Student Leader


Planet Blue Student Leaders (PBSLs) are part-time employees of Student Life who act as peer educators to promote sustainable living behaviors and work in small teams to implement year-long projects that support campus sustainability goals. Throughout the year, PBSLs participate in weekly programs to develop leadership skills and build the capacity of diverse, interdisciplinary project teams. If you’re looking for a beginning-to-intermediate level opportunity to develop leadership in sustainability at U-M, the PBSL program might be a good fit for you!

We are currently only accepting applications for first-year students. Applications are due Sunday, July 12 at 11:59pm. Questions? Contact


    PBSLs work 5-10 hours per week, broken down in the following categories: 

    • Sustainable leadership development (2-3 hours weekly)
      • Participate in weekly team meetings on Friday from 11am-1pm
      • Attend outside trainings as needed
      • Connection with sustainability stakeholders across campus including the Graham Institute, the Office of Sustainability, Student Life facilities managers, Housing, Beyond the Diag, and more
    • Supporting existing campus sustainability initiatives (1-4 hours weekly)
      • Audit on-campus residential composting efforts
      • Support the Office of Campus Sustainability in waste reduction campaigns 
      • Conduct Planet Blue Ambassador Trainings in collaboration with the Graham Institute for Sustainability
      • Represent the Planet Blue brand by tabling and attending zero-waste events
      • Grow relationships with sustainability advocates in Student Life and other divisions
      • Collect and analyze data for sustainable behavior change app pilot
    • Team projects (2-3 hours weekly)
      • Attend weekly team meetings
      • Design and implement a year-long initiative or campaign that promotes sustainable values and behaviors among their peers. Possible project themes include: waste reduction, energy efficiency, on-campus housing, or off-campus.


    • Registered as a full-time student and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor for the 2020-21 academic year
    • Ability to commit to the PBSL program for a minimum of one full academic year
    • Must be able to attend weekly team meetings on Fridays 11am-1pm
    • Must attend one day paid orientation during the weekend of August 29 (exact time and location TBD)
    • Demonstrated passion for sustainability (formal classes and experience in sustainability not required)


    • Strong group work skills
    • Demonstrated communication, flexibility, leadership
    • A self-driven work ethic to keep self-accountable
    • Experience in peer-to-peer education.


      Please complete the Qualtrics application form linked here.

      Applicants will be prompted to upload a resume and respond to the following short-answer questions:

      • How you can contribute to the Planet Blue Student Leader team effectively by incorporating your unique experiences and interests? What qualities distinguish you from other student applicants?
      • In your words, define sustainability. Give an example of an initiative that embodies your definition of sustainability and explain why you chose it.
      • PBSLs are student sustainability leaders on campus. What leadership skills will you bring to your work as a PBSL? 
      • Describe the relationship between diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and sustainability. Please share how you could incorporate DEI principles into your work as a PBSL. 


      Questions? Contact


      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 opportunity does not provide class credit.

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

      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 and is a great beginning to intermediate opportunity for leadership.

      Q: Where is PBSL work regularly conducted?
      A:  Weekly meetings are held Friday afternoons on Central Campus. 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: PBSLs have hosted a WasteLESS Dinner,  Move Out waste collection campaign, and conducted energy audits of University Union buildings.

      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!