U. of Michigan Committing Nearly $100 million to Sustainability

The University of Michigan will invest $14 million on green initiatives, part of a larger commitment of nearly $100 million for sustainability.

Solid waste components of the plan include a call to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 40 percent.

In the university’s latest commitment, it will spend $14 million on hybrid buses, solar panels and funding for students to find ways to conserve resources. This is on top of committing to spend $64 million in construction, including energy efficient buildings, and $20 million in sustainability efforts with core operations, the university said in a press release.

"I want the message to be clear: Sustainability defines the University of Michigan. Combine maize and blue, and you get green," President Mary Sue Coleman said in a speech kicking off the university's annual EarthFest celebration.

The university’s goals by 2025, in addition to reducing waste sent landfills by 40 percent, include cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent; decreasing vehicle carbon output by 30 percent; and purchasing at least 20 percent of university food from local and sustainable sources.

The university has launched Planet Blue Ambassadors, which trains students and staff to teach the 80,000 members of the Michigan community to save energy, reuse and recycle, and reduce waste. And any dining halls that are built or renovated are expected to go trayless – to reduce the amount of food ultimately that ends up in the garbage.

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