Pitching In Together: A Showcase of Student Sustainability Projects

Two sustainability-focused student programs at the University of Michigan, the Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC) and the Planet Blue Student Leaders (PBSL), participated in a virtual “Shark Tank” style event called Pitching In Together in April of 2021. Over the academic year, the PBSLs piloted creative environmental behavior-change campaigns with students across campus, and at this event, SSC heard pitches from each PBSL project team about how they proposed rolling out these pilots on a larger scale over the next academic year. Watch to learn a little about PBSLs and SSC, the various project teams’ pilots, and what they proposed for future implementation.

This first video includes the pitch from the PBSL team focused on energy. Through their pilot, Liz, Mavi, and Vaarun aimed to get participants to turn their thermostats down by one degree in the winter.

This second video includes the pitch from the PBSL team focused on sustainability off campus. Through their pilot, Ashvin and Kjersti aimed to get participants to shop second hand rather than buy new clothing items.

This third video includes the pitch from the PBSL team focused on sustainability on campus. Through their pilot, Emma, Reis, and Regan aimed to encourage students to use their reusable water bottles by conducting a really fun water bottle decorating contest.

This fourth video includes the pitch from the PBSL team focused on waste reduction. Through their pilot, Izzy, Chava, Steve, and Kei aimed at communicating proper recycling rules through conducting “Know Where to Throw” trainings.

After the pitches, the SSC students deliberated and ended up choosing two of the four projects to award funding to through their Social and Environmental Sustainability Grant. SSC Finance and Operations Coordinator Arynne Wegryn-Jones made the official announcement: “We would like to congratulate the waste team for receiving $750 for their recycling education project! We were impressed by how your project addresses a problem that we feel often goes unnoticed, and your cohesive vision for what you wanted to achieve with this project. We would also like to congratulate the energy team for receiving $1750 for their thermostat project! We were impressed by your focus on the cultural shift around energy use and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice and how it intersects with heating and energy use.”

The audience in attendance at the virtual event was also asked to vote on several superlatives for the different PBSL project teams. The results were as follows:

  • Most Artistic 🎨 – On Campus Team
  • Most Innovative ✨ – Energy Team
  • Most enthusiastic 😃 – Waste Team
  • Most likely to get RT’ed by Greta Thunberg 🌳 – Off Campus Team

Congratulations PBSLs on a very successful year of behavior change projects! We look forward to hearing more about your work—particularly on recycling education and energy-saving thermostats—next school year!