SSI was one of the driving forces behind the creation of OCS, which serves to advance sustainability efforts primarily in operations.
In 2010, the University adopted the LEED silver certification as its standard for major new construction projects and renovations of over $10M. SSI, along with other allies, pushed for this new standard.
"Today we begin an important new chapter—one that will alter the face of our campus and, more important, the character of our teaching, research and impact as a global leader... I want the message to be clear: Sustainability defines the University of Michigan. Combine maize and blue, and you get green. A great university such as ours does not blink when presented with difficult challenges... The Student Sustainability Initiative, in particular, has pulled together dozens of student groups working to make the University of Michigan a more sustainable place. " 13th UM President Mary Sue Coleman
Visit this link to learn more about UM's commitment.
M-SAS’s founder, Courtney Mercier, a four-year varsity student-athlete, formed M-SAS last year with the help of the SSI Board when she realized that there were other student-athletes like her who were interested in environmental sustainability but didn’t know how to get involved.
"Our goal for M-SAS is to be a program not only for professional and career-related issues, but also a venue for student-athletes to express their interests and desires to make the athletic community more environmentally sustainable. We hope to unify individual interests, organize action and build awareness. We’re not just fighting to get recycling bins put in the facilities, but rather we want to reach out to all student-athletes, coaches, fans, everyone in the athletic community. We want to educate and empower them to make their own choices about sustainability." Courtney Mercier
In Fall 2010, five students in the Environment 391 “Sustainability and the Campus” course completed a feasibility study on implementing a sustainability fee at U-M. The students distributed a survey to over 40,000 U-M students to gauge opinions on and the level of support for sustainability on the U-M campus. The survey received a ten percent response rate and indicated that twenty-seven percent of students thought a sustainability fee would spur their involvement in environmental efforts on campus; this translates to thousands of students heightening their involvement in campus sustainability.
In Winter 2011, the students sat down with University staff and Administration to discuss the sustainability fee concept and gauge their receptiveness. The University requested that focus be shifted to a funding mechanism that would not directly increase students tuition with a student fee. The concept of a student sustainability fee was then transformed into a proposal for a sustainability fund backed by the University’s annual budget. The PBSIF pilot proposal was submitted in May 2011 and was later incorporated into the Integrated Assessment’s recommended goals.