Earthfest returns to Diag to support sustainability at U-M

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Earthfest, an annual fall event celebrating sustainability initiatives across the University of Michigan, returns to the Diag on Sept. 22.

The event serves as a touchstone for the U-M community to convene around efforts to achieve universitywide carbon neutrality and foster a shared culture of sustainability.

This year’s Earthfest features 40 student organizations, university units and local nonprofits sharing opportunities to learn about and get involved in sustainable operations, environmental advocacy, research and environmental justice.

Highlights include:

  • A hands-on opportunity to braid an honors cord with local, naturally dyed wool. Cords are awarded to U-M graduates who demonstrate “Excellence in Sustainability.”
  • On-the-spot bicycle repair assistance, provided by Common Cycle, to support sustainable transportation.
  • Wildlife ambassadors from Leslie Science and Nature Center.
  • A farm stand — a partnership between U-M Sustainable Food Program and the Campus Farm — offering attendees produce grown by students. The stand operates each Thursday outside the U-M Museum of Art.

Earthfest is jointly organized by the Office of Campus Sustainability, Student Life Sustainability, the School for Environment and Sustainability, the Graham Sustainability Institute, Student Sustainability Coalition and other U-M units.

Concurrent efforts to enhance sustainability within campus life include expanding the Planet Blue Ambassador program to UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn, continuing peer-to-peer programming led by student groups including the Sustainable Food Program, Student Sustainability Coalition and Planet Blue Student Leaders, and expanding waste reduction opportunities through the installation of compost bins in 150 Ann Arbor campus buildings.

U-M also continues to make progress toward carbon neutrality across all campuses and units. Priorities for the year ahead include expanding geo-exchange heating and cooling plans, finalizing a selection process to procure 100% of U-M’s purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and supporting energy conservation projects across campuses and units via a revolving energy fund.

U-M expects to publish a report tracking fiscal year 2022 climate action progress in the coming weeks. The university also shares its progress toward its various carbon neutrality commitments via an interactive dashboard.

In addition, the Ann Arbor campus earlier this year achieved its 25% greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal, which was set in 2011 and achieved three years ahead of a 2025 target.

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