At the close of 2022, our Planet Blue Student Leader (PBSL) team wanted to reflect back on what we have accomplished this past Fall semester and start getting excited for what lies ahead in 2023.
If you aren’t familiar with Planet Blue Student Leaders already, we are a group of peer educators here on campus who work to promote sustainability for students. Each of us work on specific projects that focus on a sustainable behavior change. This year, we have project teams focused on dining, on-campus housing, off-campus housing, and Center for Campus Involvement and student organizations. In addition to that, we each work in creative pods to produce some fun sustainability content (like this blog!). The creative pods include our blog pod, a pod that produces podcasts, a communications pod that runs our social media accounts, and the programming pod that plans events.
We asked PBSLs what some of their major accomplishments were this semester. Many PBSLs talked about the work they’ve been doing in their project teams. One PBSL in particular mentioned the on-campus housing team’s pop-up thrift store (happening soon!) as a major accomplishment, since only a few months ago it was just an idea. Also, a PBSL on the dining team said that they’re proud of how their team has been working with many different people from MDining, and how much they’ve been learning about dining-specific aspects of sustainability.
Many PBSLs also mentioned the work they’ve been doing in creative pods as major accomplishments. Programming pod’s spooky eco trivia night was fantastic and had great energy and turnout! Communications pod is proud of connecting with other students and making the PBSL Instagram more accessible and friendly (you can check it out here!). Blog pod (that’s us!) has written posts on sustainable fashion, urban green spaces, climate anxiety, and sustainable bathroom tips, among others. And then podcast pod has released several episodes—listen here!—covering topics like sustainability on the ballot, and greenwashing.
In addition to reflecting on major accomplishments from the fall semester, we asked our fellow PBSLs to share some of their favorite memories thus far. Some highlights were the PBSL retreat, the Funeral for a failed project, working shifts at university events, and ice breakers.
This event was at the beginning of the semester when we were first meeting each other! We ate tons of good food (vegetarian and vegan) made by our lovely staff advisor Clara. We did tons of ice breakers, it was so fun to meet our new coworkers for the first time. We worked with IGR to learn more about how we can apply diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to our work. Our amazing DEI committee created a really fun icebreaker where we answered a list of questions and if someone agreed we would toss a ball of yarn while keeping the yarn in our hand to show how we are all connected. It was a really touching moment.
The Funeral for a Failed Project:
Earlier this year, we were tasked with researching a failed project and hosting a funeral for it. The project we chose to host the funeral for had good intentions, but ignored certain components of DEI (which are crucial for successful sustainability projects!). Everyone dressed up for our weekly meeting, and we split into different teams: coroners, epidemiologists, eulogists, and grief counselors. It was a really fun and interactive way for us to learn about project planning.
Working At University Events:
PBSLs have been all over campus! From tabling at Earthfest and Harvest to lending a helping hand at UMSFP’s Farm Stand, we love being able to share what we do with other students. At Earthfest and Harvestfest, we hosted a water bottle decorating contest to encourage students to use reusable water bottles. Even though we got caught in the rain at Harvestfest, we all had such a great time chatting with students about sustainability and decorating some bottles ourselves.
PBSLs have so much more in store for the upcoming semester! In addition to launching projects across campus, each project team will be hosting fun, interactive workshops for students (like you!) to participate in. You can come make soap with the dining team, pickle vegetables with the off-campus housing team, or learn how to alter your clothes with the on-campus housing team!
All of us on the PBSL team are looking forward to seeing sustainable behavior changes on campus, and we’re so excited to get everyone involved. Follow our Instagram to stay in the loop about our upcoming events and projects you can get involved with.