Planting a “Seed” For Sustainability at Michigan Technological University

custom seed packets

How do you “plant a seed” to help people remember you?

Green Campus Enterprise (GCE) is a student group at Michigan Technological University. It is a group comprised of mostly undergraduate students from freshmen to seniors and occasionally graduate level students as well. Students can choose whether to count their time with the Enterprise as credits toward their degree or just to participate on their own time. All of the students that become involved are there because they are passionate about what the group does.

“I enjoy being in enterprise because I get to do something I care about and make an actual difference around campus.” – Samantha Whitens, Fourth Year Environmental Engineering Student

“One of the best parts of being in this enterprise, besides learning about how to be more environmentally friendly, is the chance to meet other students and members from the community that are also passionate about investing in a ‘green’ future.” – Zach Jensen, Third Year Electrical Engineering Student

GCE

 

GCE was created in 2008 with an overall goal of integrating sustainability into Michigan Tech’s research and education. The mission of GCE is to help Michigan Tech’s Administration effectively engage the University community in reducing its carbon footprint. Since then the team has grown considerably and currently their projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Calculating the annual carbon footprint of the University (completed annually since 2008)

  • Conducting a feasibility study to determine if a wind turbine can be placed at the top of the local ski hill

  • Looking into replacing dry coolers in one of the campus buildings with a geothermal cooling system that would use the nearby Portage Lake as a heat sink

  • Converting and testing one of the University’s fleet vehicles to run on compressed natural gas in hopes of later converting the rest of the fleet

  • Organizing green events and lectures in order to engage the University and surrounding communities

  • Conducting a feasibility study to construct a Tiny House community on/near campus

custom seed packets

Every year in late August/early September, Michigan Tech holds an event called Keweenaw Day (K-Day). This is an event where all of the student groups on campus gather at the nearby state park on the coast of Lake Superior to showcase what they do and recruit new students. GCE had various activities set up to get people thinking about sustainability both on campus and in their daily lives. They also had various prizes, give-away items, and informational items for students that got involved or wanted to become a part of the team.

“We gave away seeded cards to people that were interested in what we do in order to encourage them to come to our meetings and get involved. They were a big hit with everyone!” noted Madison Olmstead, coordinator of the GCE group.  “I had multiple people come to me after the event to excitedly tell me that their seeds had sprouted. Such a great way to both promote our organization and keep us in the front of their mind every time they look at their plant.”

For more information about specific projects, visit the Green Campus website: http://www.enterprise.mtu.edu/green_campus/

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