Kermit the Frog famously sang, "It's not easy being green." But don't tell that to the members of the University of Michigan-Flint's Planet Blue Ambassador program. In fact, the program's members want to show you just how easy it can be to live green during Sustainability Week, Oct. 2-6. Throughout the week, more than a dozen events showcasing the ways that the university is engaging in sustainability efforts will take place, including interactive training sessions, speakers, community events and tours.
"I really want people to come away excited and energized around sustainability and see that it can be fun to solve these issues," said Jazlynne Cathey, UM-Flint sustainability programs coordinator. Cathey, a 2022 graduate with a bachelor's degree in molecular biology, has been helping to connect all the parts of campus to these sustainability efforts.
Tuesday, Oct. 3, will feature a drop-in training session, 2:30-3:15 p.m., in 392 Murchie Science Building, addressing topics like energy conservation, transportation, waste, water conservation, food and community.
The PBA program will facilitate a sustainability trivia night, an upcycling workshop, and many other engagement activities. Facilities & Operations staff will host a tour of the university's central energy plant and highlight the university's operational sustainability efforts toward carbon neutrality. From 4:30-5:30 p.m., Oct. 5, in the Kiva, Mona Munroe-Younis will be speaking on "Environmental Justice, Transformational Change & Equitable Community Partnerships." Munroe-Younis is the executive director of the Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint.
Sustainability Week will finish with a Flint River cleanup at Riverbank Park, a communitywide service event in conjunction with Mott Community College, the Flint River Watershed Coalition, the Michigan Climate Action Network and Americorp.
Among UM-Flint's ongoing sustainability efforts, the MSB Expansion was awarded LEED Silver status through the U.S. Green Building Council less than one year ago. Chris Pearson, dean of the College of Innovation & Technology, said, "I'm very proud of the efforts we've made towards sustainability on campus and in our vision of the future. Our Sustainability and Renewable Energy Technology program curriculum has the power to cultivate visionary leaders who can solve these global challenges."
Sustainability Week will bring some of these lessons to the wider campus community. "We are living in a state of climate crisis where we can't ignore the changing state of our everyday normal," Cathey said. "It's imperative that we be educated, aware and engaged with facets of sustainability; that we know what the problems are, know what we can do, and take action to help ensure a bright future for us & future generations."
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Rob McCullough is a communications intern with the Office of Research and Economic Development. He can be reached at email@example.com.