Virtual Earthfest 2020 to celebrate sustainability at U-M


The week of Sept. 14-18 marks the 25th anniversary of Earthfest, U-M’s annual fall event celebrating sustainability initiatives across U-M.

This year, Earthfest will encompass a series of virtual events and activities. The purpose remains the same: to educate and engage the campus community on opportunities to support sustainability on campus and in their daily lives.

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Earthfest will begin with a talk by Guy O. Williams, a nationally-recognized environmental justice advocate. He will share his experience and encouragement on facing tough issues such as environmental justice, climate change and racism.

Introductory and closing remarks will be presented by Rosina M. Bierbaum, professor and dean emerita of the School of Natural Resources and Environment, now the School for Environment and Sustainability.

To highlight a major universitywide effort, Earthfest will feature a panel on the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality. Tasked with identifying opportunities for U-M to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, the PCCN brings together students, staff and faculty from across the university to develop and recommend bold, transferrable and sustainable solutions.

Co-chairs Stephen Forrest, Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering, and Jennifer Haverkamp, Graham Family Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, will join student researchers from the commission’s analysis teams to discuss what it means for U-M to pursue carbon neutrality.

Students will share their distinct expertise and answer questions from the U-M community, while attendees will learn how they can contribute ideas and get involved.

For those interested in contributing to sustainable campus culture, Earthfest features a Green Teams webinar. The Office of Campus Sustainability will introduce its newly revamped Green Teams program, which supports organized groups of staff who drive action on sustainability.

Tapping into increased home cooking, MDining Chef Tony Picinotti will demonstrate how to prepare healthy, sustainable recipes that are delicious, made with local ingredients, and easy to make.

Finally, a scavenger hunt will challenge participants to find clues throughout Earthfest programming to learn about sustainability in a fun way. The scavenger hunt can be completed virtually using the Campus Sustainability Map or by going to outdoor locations to find codes written in chalk.

Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to connect with student groups, departments and community organizations that advance sustainability through meet and greets, videos and skill-share workshops.

Earthfest is open to everyone, with an emphasis on U-M students, faculty and staff. Most events and activities can be viewed at any time, while several live events require advance registration. Visit for more information.

Earthfest is organized by representatives from the Office of Campus Sustainability, School for Environment and Sustainability, Graham Sustainability Institute and Student Life under the Planet Blue umbrella.


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