Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.16
Liaison Matthew Liesch
Submission Date May 13, 2024

STARS v2.2

Central Michigan University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Eric Urbaniak
Student Reviewer
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

Central Michigan University has many active student run sustainability based organizations. These include Take Back the Tap, Central Students Sierra Club, Community of Future Environmental Scientists, Geography and Environmental Studies Club, Parks and Outdoor Recreation Coalition, and the Refugee Outreach Collective, among others. Take Back the Tap: The purpose of Take Back the Tap is to end the sale of bottled water on the campus of Central Michigan University and encourage students, faculty, and staff to drink tap water and use reusable bottles instead of buying disposable bottled water. Take Back the Tap highlights the social, economic, and environmental problems with bottled water and aims to raise awareness of the consequences of the use of single-use bottled water. Take Back the Tap is part of a campaign run by Food and Water Watch, a non-profit organization working with grassroots organizations to create an economically and environmentally viable future. Central Students Sierra Club: Regardless of individual members’ political beliefs, the Central Student Sierra Club is dedicated to the preservation and responsible enjoyment of Mount Pleasant’s, Michigan’s, and all the earth’s natural places. The Central Student Sierra Club’s mission is to expand our understanding of conservation and the natural world by exploring the untamed wild, inform community and government representatives on environmental issues, and carry out actions necessary to create a more sustainable world, through peaceful active citizenry and service to our community. Core activities of this organization include: 1) Volunteer work dedicated to preserving natural spaces such as parks, reserves, etc. 2) Engaging in political activity such as marches, protests, writing to, and meeting with government officials to promote the welfare of the environment. 3)Taking trips to different natural areas across Michigan and the United States. Community of Future Environmental Scientists: A pre-professional organization aiming to connect students to the environmental science field through education of internships and other opportunities for professional development. Geography and Environmental Studies Club: Geography and Environmental Studies Club is a group that welcomes Geography, Environmental Studies, and anything in between. This group focuses on discussing geography as a group, doing community service, forming study groups, and fundraising for future trips. Students from any major or minor are welcomed and help to create a community of like-minded peers that share a common interest in the Earth, how we use it, and how to gain knowledge of our world today. Parks and Outdoor Recreation Coalition: The Parks and Outdoor Recreation Coalition exists to promote stewardship and conservation of public lands, facilitate professional development and networking opportunities, provide outdoor recreational experiences, and organize volunteering and service projects to benefit park and recreation organizations and students. Refugee Outreach Collective: ROC is a volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit that expands access to education opportunities to those experiencing forced-displacement, advocates for just opportunities to migrate, and organizes outreach efforts to people as they are subjected to object poverty in encampments. Ultimately, ROC amplifies diverse narratives of migrant and displaced communities through alliance and relationship building. We work to make the US a more welcoming place to resettling communities and to eradicate refugee camps as a normative concept. ROC’s work can be understood as having to do with three pillars, those being education, advocacy and outreach. Each of which can be found outlined below: Education - ROC expands access to education opportunities as people experience displacement or resettlement. ROC works with universities to open access to college courses for those experiencing forced displacement along the US-Mexico border and in Malawi and provides tutoring assistance for students who are resettling to Southwest Michigan. Advocacy - ROC organizes regular advocacy efforts across university campuses in Southwest Michigan, and online through our Moving Lines Podcast. Currently, there are seven going on eight ROC chapters, each of which organize regular educational meetings, events open to the public, fundraising efforts and outreach initiatives. Outreach - ROC provides assistance to individuals as they are subjected to object poverty, experience restrictions on their movement and many othersocio-political constraints as they live in encampments. All of our outreach efforts are organized and led by members of the community that the initiative is organized to assist. Here at the Central Michigan University chapter, it is our mission to exemplify these three principles. We welcome students from any major or minor who share an interest in educating the community about forced migration, advocating for refugee-friendly policy, and serving displaced people through fundraising and volunteering.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

Central Michigan University is home to a campus gardening program. This program is designed to give students hands-on experience in local farming opportunities, while providing them inexpensive space to grow personal produce right on campus. Although the program came to a halt during the pandemic, campus organizations such as Central Sustainability, Campus Dining, and the Volunteer Center have worked diligently to rebuild the program.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Central Sustainability is staffed with exclusively student workers. The mission statement of this office desplayed on their website reads "Central Sustainability is a platform dedicated to making the CMU community more sustainable through projects, policy, and programming. We focus on education, collaboration, and institutional growth to better our campus." Link: 


The Volunteer Center includes the Alternative Breaks Program, a searchable online database of volunteer opportunities for CMU students, and other regular programming. The vision of the Volunteer Center is "Creating a socially just world." Mission statement: The Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center's mission is to provide students the opportunity to serve their community, enhance their educational experience and develop into caring citizens.

Link: https://www.cmich.edu/offices-departments/mary-ellen-brandell-volunteer-center

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Central Michigan University hosts a program called the New Venture Competition. This program is designed to provide students who aspire to start up new business ventures with initial funds necessary to pursue their business dreams. There are many categories of New Venture awards, including local Michigan impact, Social Justice ventures, Sustainability Advancement ventures, as well as sustainable technology and engineering. Through these categories, student participants are educated about developing business ventures which encompass environmental and economic sustainability. Link: https://www.cmich.edu/academics/colleges/college-business-administration/centers-institutes/isabella-bank-institute-for-entrepreneurship/new-venture-challenge

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

2020 Central Michigan Climate Solutions Summit In addition to sponsoring the Oct. 16 Central Michigan Climate Solutions Summit in 2020, we worked closely with the coordinators to promote the event, collect tabling video submissions and release a promotional video for the event. All of the information, including recordings of the event, is still available on the website. https://www.cmich.edu/academics/colleges/college-science-engineering/central-sustainability/initiatives-and-projects 2023 Earth Week Sustainable Speaker Series Earth week 2023 events included a speaker and panel series. Guest speakers included a talk on Sustainable Chemistry by Mark E. Jones, Ph.D. In 2017, he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, recognized for his commitment to communicating chemistry. From the event description, " Carbon emissions and environmental plastics currently are the major areas of concern for the chemical industry. Understanding the nature of these challenges, what is being and can be done to reduce the industry’s impact and addressing the inevitable trade-offs will be discussed." https://mjphd.net/Presentations/CMUSustainability23.pdf Another featured event during Earth Week 2023 was a Faculty Panel discussing Environmentally Displaced Persons. In this Panel and Q&A, attendees learned about the intersectionality of climate change and how it affects the global refugee population. The link below details a CMLife publication that was released, advertising April events surrounding Earth Day. https://www.cm-life.com/article/2023/04/d_studentgovernmentassociation_432023

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

The Clarke Historical Library officially opened its most recent exhibit, Abundant Waters: Our Most Precious Resource on February 22, 2022. "Exploring the state's cultural, environmental, political, and economic history through its 3,200 miles of freshwater coastline and 76,000 miles of rivers, this website offers new ways to approach the exhibit's driving question: how often do we actually think about our relationship with Michigan's most precious resource?" http://www.clarkehistoricallibrary.org/2022/07/abundant-waters-digital-exhibit-now.html In August of 2022, A new mural was unveiled to students at Central Michigan University’s Bovee University Center. This piece will explore the past, present and future of Native American and Indigenous people around Michigan and throughout North America. This piece represents cultural sustainability on campus, as students are guided through an interactive mural where they can learn about the Indigenous culture of the place where campus is located today. https://www.cmich.edu/news/details/new-mural-will-highlight-native-american-history-culture

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Central Michigan University has a top-of-the-charts Recreation, Parks, & Leisure Services department. Within this department, classes on backpacking, Leave No Trace, outdoor recreation facilitation, among others, provide students with ample opportunity to be inspired by nature, grow as sustainability-promoting professionals, as well as strengthen a sense of respect and stewardship for the natural world. This department sparked several Student-led Wilderness and Outdoor programs and clubs such as the High Adventure Club and Parks and Outdoor Recreation Coalition. These clubs/RSO's provide students with opportunities to recreate in wilderness areas, experience adventures in paddling, white water rafting, hiking, backpacking and climbing, among others, as well as participate in education, outreach, stewardship, restoration and other environmentally responsible activities all while practicing the principles of Leave No Trace Ethics. Direct refernece to Leave No Trace can be found on the department's page: https://www.cmich.edu/academics/colleges/college-education-human-services/departments/recreation-parks-leisure-services-administration

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

A sustainability-focused theme for the Spring Semester of 2023 was a waste reduction on campus. This theme was fitting as it was implemented during the time of Campus Race to Zero Waste. Students were able to participate in "waste reduction Wednesday" events such as waste audits in front of the University Center and compost collections, as well as a large electronics drive, as part of Campus Race to Zero Waste. Students could also learn waste reduction tips from the frequent posts of the Central Sustainability social media platforms. https://www.cm-life.com/article/2023/03/d_campusracetozerowaste_352023

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

CMU implements various sustainability outreach materials focused on educating students, staff, faculty, and the general public on sustainable life skills. These include a sustainable living guide, sustainability walking tour, sustainability map, educational videos, and the Central Sustainability website. Within residence halls, students learn proper recycling methods through the green teams program hosted by their sustainability advocates. In the dining halls, students learn about food waste and how to compost through the incredibly successful composting program. Links to the listed resources- https://www.cmich.edu/academics/colleges/college-science-engineering/central-sustainability/initiatives-and-projects

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

Central Michigan University offers a wide variety of sustainability-focused employment opportunities. These opportunities include working for Facilities Management, in the dining system, the office of sustainability, doing research, and more. Facilities management workers specialize in recycling, composting, and green cleaning impact and analysis as well as generalized inter-campus and intra-campus collaboration in regards to sustainability enhancement. Students working in the on campus dining systems have first hand experience with sustainable food operations through sustainable monitoring tasks, purchasing, waste reduction, and composting initiatives. Students working in the sustainability office use problem solving and collaboration with other sustainability driven groups on campus in order to create new sustainable initiatives for Central Michigan University. Through projects, programming, and policy, student workers create and drive the campus commitment to sustainability. When it comes to research job opportunities on campus, within Science, Technology and Engineering in regards to sustainability advancement. For example, students within the Engineering department have the opportunity to work with the Mt. Pleasant Water Resource Recovery facility to study anaerobic digestion and how this can turn food waste into biofuel. Students also have opportunities to receive funding in return for assisting faculty and other designated employees pursue sustainability-related feasibility studies, as well as other applied research.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.