Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.85
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan State University
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.13 / 4.00 Mara Spears
Sustainability Program Coordinator
Office of the EVP for Administration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Number of students enrolled for credit (headcount):
50,340

Total number of students enrolled for credit that are served (i.e. directly targeted) by a student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting to the extent feasible):
26,800

Percentage of students served by a peer-to-peer educator program:
53.24

Name of the student educators program:
Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE)

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):
1,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

"RISE is an interdisciplinary living-learning program focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship. Supported by a consortium of seven colleges, RISE provides first-year students at Michigan State University with the resources to successfully transition from high school to university academic life. Beyond their first year, many RISE participants are engaged in undergraduate research, hands-on projects, and co-curricular initiatives in which they can explore their interests within a supportive community of students, faculty and staff with shared values. RISE was founded in 2013, and graduated participants in the program have swelled from 25 to over 85 since then. Each student makes her or her impact on their peers every day as they work to educate others in their college and make MSU a more sustainable campus. Indirectly, RISE students influence hundreds of their peers through informal discussion and collaboration, but the RISE students also hold community outreach events that allow them to teach their peers about sustainability and sustainability living practices. Several events that the students host and lead are:
Worm bin and composting workshops
Volunteering at the Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm
Health and wellness workshop
Sustainable crafternoons
Bee Team volunteering
Several of the topics RISE students teach their peers about include: key issues in environmental science and environmental sustainability, sustainable food systems, pollinator decline, food waste, and composting. RISE is split into many targeted teams, including the Bailey Bee Club, Liberty Hyde Bailey Hydroponics, Sustainable Stories Blog Team, and a Health & Wellness team. Once students choose their teams, they are further educated in sustainability and in their focused areas in order to help them grow their knowledge in those areas. Ongoing activities are hosted by each team, connecting them with their peers as they share their knowledge in their respective sustainability areas. Outreach through the RISE newsletters are very effective, as are free workshops, hosted events, and farm and bee club volunteering. 


A brief description of how the student educators are selected:

Students apply for RISE before their freshman year begins through an online application with short essay portions, and a case-by-case interviewing process. Advisors look for fit and able students who can handle farming and outdoor activities, prior experience in leadership and community engagement in sustainability and environmental studies. Other determining factors include ACT and SAT scores. 


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

All first year RISE students must fulfill 10 hours of co-curricular engagement, and enroll in Freshman seminar NSC 292 Intro to Environmental Studies. All RISE students must also attend additional Academic Orientation at the start of term. 


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination):

RISE receives an operating budget which is sourced from the consortium of seven colleges that host the program. In June of 2016, an endowment was established for the program, and ongoing grant applications are submitted to various colleges within MSU. RISE does not require financial support for its Greenhouse and Urban Farm, as the space is financially self-sustaining. 


Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Student Organic Farm - Student Projects, Interns, Independent Studies

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):
4,800

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

The MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF): The SOF is a space where students can go to learn, work, volunteer, and relax. The SOF hosts paid interns, interns for credit, class participation, class projects, volunteer hours, field trips and tours. The on-campus information and farm stand serves as an education and community hub in the center of campus. The stand is run by students and provides organic, local food to the campus community, runs six months out of the year, and enables students working on the farm to cultivate knowledge in organic and sustainable food production in their peers and in other community members. The SOF trains one intern in community outreach, education, and marketing skills to fun the farm stand, which is located in the very center of campus,  with a high level of traffic and reight next to popular bus stops. The student(s) running the stand provide interested students, staff, and faculty with brochures about the farm, sign up people for the farm newsletter, discuss the produce with passerby, and help to educate the campus community about the farm and where our food comes from. The farm stand serves as an opportunity for all passerby to learn about the farm, and the interns who run it are training in peer outreach and always provide community members with lists of ways to get involved in the farm or campus sustainability. These peer-to-peer conversations happen every week during the growing season, which includes the summer months. This is especially important because all tour groups led through MSU and Academic Orientation Program tours pass by the farm stand, so all new and prospective students are greeted by the SOF intern and can learn about campus sustainability efforts on their way. While exact numbers or demographics of interactions are not logged at the farm stand. it runs throughout the spring, summer, and fall during peek periods of class attendance, and therefore is available to all students on campus during that time. 


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (2nd program):

Students are selected to intern at the Student Organic Farm through an application and interview process. These students are expected to work outside in all weather, be ready learners, enthusiastic about farming and sustainability, and have good work ethic. Students who carry out for-credit projects on site are selected through partnerships with courses and MSU instructor recommendations. Students volunteering for credit are required to work under crew member supervision. 


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):

Farm interns are required to shadow the farm staff and crewmembers, and must learn how to properly preform each task on the farm. They are also required to log their hours and write reflections. Students working on credit projects are required to spend a certain amount of set-hours on site, and much complete their project and conclusionary essay. Students are chosen for tasks on the farm or at the SOF stand in accordance to their preference and their ability within that area. All interns who work at the farm stand are trained by an SOF leader in marketing and peer outreach strategies. 
All farm interns and crew members must learn how to run the farm stand on campus and must learn farm tasks well enough to teach volunteers and other incoming interns. They are taught these skills through shadowing a crewmember, and are encouraged to pursue as many farm tasks as they can.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):

The SOF is self-sustaining based on vegetable sales, but research and student involvement through coursework is funded through grants, tuition, and funds directly provided from the participating Colleges who sponsor the projects.


Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Clean Plates at State

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):
20,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):

Clean Plates at State is a fall program that has been going on since 2012, where Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) partners with students from dietetic and sustainability classes who are required to fulfill a certain amount of hours with the program. The program primarily pulls student volunteers from the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program, and from the HNF 440; Food Service Operations course. Any student may volunteer, even if they are not involved in the course or RISE program. The program has a focus on food waste mindfulness and sustainability. The program visually displays how much food is wasted from a lunch or dinner over several hours, and nine dining halls participate. Volunteers, RHS representatives, and students enrolled for credit run the Clean Plates stations in front of the waste disposal areas, and stop every student who wishes to dispose of their food. Every patron has their food waste weighed and cataloged before they leave; the number of estimated students served comes from and average of weigh-ins during clean plates compared to the number of purchased and used meal plans on campus. Clean Plates at State runs every semester, wherein the fall semester program serves as the pre-survey of each dining hall's performance overall. Posters and social media advertising (including reoccurring Facebook events) are promoted before the program beings in the fall. The spring semester program revisits the same halls and conducts weighing as a post-survey program to judge the increase or decrease in food waste at each location. Clean Plates events occur during the lunch or dinner hours every week for three months during each semester, and patrons of the dining halls are required to approach the volunteers and interact with them before exiting the hall. Over the last twelve semesters since the programs inception, food waste per person in dining halls has dropped significantly; at the beginning of the program, the average amount of food a student would waste during a semester was 25.22 pounds. As of 1028, tjat n umber has decreased down to 20.54 pounds per student per semester. 


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (3rd program):

Student are selected as program participants if there are enrolled in participating sustainability or dietetics classes during the fall semester, or if they are volunteering independently through RHS. Students must be able-bodied and willing to conduct peer-to-peer outreach. 


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (3rd program):

Students are educated in proper procedure of LeanPath technology, proper preparation techniques, and use of food waste tracking devices/programs by culinary employees. The program requires students to address the questions of: Why are we doing this? What does this represent? How it will benefit us in the future? Students must first shadow a RHS representative before addressing a student peer themselves. The volunteers who run each station are trained in interaction with peers to help make the experience more enjoyable and to teach their peers about the importance of food waste reduction. This training is ongoing, and the Residential and Hospitality Services Sustainability Officer attends a Clean Plates station every week during the program and helps the student volunteers improve int their educational outreach. 


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (3rd program):

Clean Plates at State is funded through RHS Sustainability and the Eat at State promotional program. MSU's RHS Sustainability Officer personally coordinates with dining hall and building management as well as class instructors to recruit students for credit. 


A brief description of all other student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of students served and how student educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:

Students have formal partnerships with RHS through written agreements for classes. This includes projects for waste reduction, composting, recycling awareness, dorm energy use reduction, and more. Please see attached form for a complete list. 


Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually (all programs):
5,000

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.