MSUM: A home for Environmental Stewards

At MSUM, we are committed to creating a green, sustainable and environmentally friendly campus while reducing pollution and energy consumption.

Our commitment allows students to seize opportunities that benefit them and the community. Gabriella Ruiz, a junior sustainability student, is doing just that.

Gabby is the Physical Plant Intern and the chair for the Student Senate Sustainability Committee.

Her campus engagement and enthusiasm for environmental stewardship has already helped drive change at MSUM.

Diving into this work was not a clear path for Gabby. Originally, she came to MSUM to study biology. However, after discovering her passion for the environment, Gabby switched to majoring in sustainability.

“I want to see how we can improve the systems we currently have to make things more sustainable for the future,” she says.

With her passion growing, Gabby wanted to get involved beyond the classroom. Her internship and committee experience have made her more confident in connecting with her community.

Now, she is a integral part in starting the TREX Plastic Bag Challenge across campus.

Get Involved in Sustainability

The TREX Plastic Bag Challenge is asking students across MSUM to donate 500 pounds of plastic bags between now and April 30, 2023.

Students participate by donating to collection bins placed throughout different buildings. Bins are located in Nemzek, Hagen, John Neumaier Hall, MacLean near the Dragon Café, and the Comstock Memorial Union (CMU) on the first floor.

If MSUM reaches its goal, TREX will donate a bench made from recycled plastic to the university.

Gabby’s grit, humility and heart for green living was integral in launching this challenge.

"I got involved with the opportunities to give me more real-life experiences when it comes to sustainability. It’s so broad that I wanted to learn more of the scientific backing behind environmental science,” she says.

Initiatives like the plastic bag challenge show students how much of an impact they can make on the community around them. Simple changes like turning off the water while brushing your teeth to recycling grocery bags are things all students on and off campus have the power to do.

“There are so many ways students can make a difference,” she says.

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