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Michigan State University

Spartans take sustainability to a higher degree

The animation on this page displays an image of the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Michigan. Green, orange, purple and blue color circles zoom up, the interior of the circles displays text: Michigan State University is one of the nation's top five campuses for sustainability; 15 undergraduate majors have environmental focus; Recylcing collection in 553 campus buildings; Surplus Store & Recycling Facility tripled amount of materials MSU can collect; MSU hoop houses grow food year round using solar energy; Campus dining halls buy produce from Michigan farms; Student organic farm grows produce for campus dining halls; All freshmen receive reusable water bottles; Waste on campus decreased by 11 percent in 08-09; Campus landfill waste decreased 1,037 tons (2007-09 to 2008-09); MSU bikes refurbishes abandoned and donated bikes; Breslin Center heats and cools based on capacity; MSU uses the least electricity per square foot of Big Ten schools; Chemistry building is Leed certified; 60 percent of construction waste recycled during Wharton Center renovation.

Graduating green: MSU's newest green tradition

  • Photo of a 32 oz. bottle with a graduation cap.Some 58,500 plastic 20-ounce bottles were recycled to robe the spring 2010 graduating class, saving 16,500 yards of fabric.
  • Thirteen plastic bottles equal a cap and gown.
  • Token diplomas were made from 30 percent postconsumer content.
  • Printed programs were made from 100 percent postconsumer content.
  • Switching to e-mail invitations saved 7,288 trees.
  • The Breslin Student Events Center, MSU Auditorium, and Wharton Center for Performing Arts have optimized heating and cooling systems.

At MSU, green is so much more than a school color. It's an attitude of personal responsibility shared by students, faculty, and staff who show daily how collective actions can make huge improvements for our campus environment. And it's helped us become one of the nation's top sustainable campuses. Whether transforming our facilities and operations to be more energy efficient or preparing students to be better stewards of our planet, Spartans work hard to make each day a little greener for all.

MSU began a new tradition in 2010 with the university's first green commencement ceremony. Graduates donned caps and gowns made from recycled plastic bottles, accepted diplomas containing postconsumer content, and heard inspiring words from former congressman and Citizen Energy Corp. founder Joseph Kennedy II—all in an energy-efficient campus venue.

On commencement day and every day at MSU, signs of our green way of life are all around and guided by our university-wide Be Spartan Green initiative. From the state-of-the-art Surplus Store and Recycling Center to 15 environment-focused undergraduate majors to miles of bike lanes and thousands of tree varieties on our park-like campus—Spartans can be proud of the green legacy they are creating. spartan shield

See more green

Watch a video to learn how the state-of-the-art Surplus Store and Recycling Center is making MSU even greener.

Learn more about the Be Spartan Green initiative.

Watch how MSU students, faculty, and staff benefit from solar-powered hoop houses that grow food year-round.

Read the special report about MSU’s green commencement.


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