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Volunteer Opportunities

UMD students "talk trash" in front of a waste sorting station in the Food Court

Passionate about Sustainability?

There are many ways to get involved and help promote sustainability on campus!  In addition to the activities listed below, the UMD Sustainability Office wants to support YOUR projects and ideas. Email for help getting your project off the ground!

Campus Clean-up

A campus clean-up will reduce unsightly litter that impacts our grounds and impacts wildlife our forests, streams and ponds.  Conducting a clean-up is a great way to engage a group in sustainability conversations and to contribute to the environmental efforts of our campus.

How to participate:  There are three steps to a successful clean-up event:

1. If your group would like to lead a clean-up event, contact the Sustainability Office for support! Email or 726-6245. Provide an estimate of the number of participants and the office can supply gloves, bags, and safety vests (as needed). We can also help identify specific areas of campus to target, certain areas to avoid, and optimal dates for your clean-up event.

2.  During the clean-up:

    • Separate recycling (empty bottles & cans,cardboard/paper) and trash.
    • Keep safety in mind: share these tips with your volunteer crew!
      • Don’t lift anything too heavy.  Report it to Facilities Management (726-8262) or Sustainability Office.
      • Watch carefully for broken glass or other sharp items.
      • Don’t pour out sealed soda bottles or other containers (unless you can tell it is for sure just soda).  Full containers are TRASH.  Empty containers are RECYCLING.
      • Stay off the street and watch for traffic.
      • If you see anything suspicious, don’t touch it, report it.

3.  When you are done: leave bags of recycling and trash (separated) near the signposts only on campus roads (University Drive, Kirby Drive, or St. Marie St. on the UMD side) for Facilities Management to collect. You can also leave extra boxes of gloves and rolls of bags on top of the trash bags for UMD Facilities Management to collect.

When to participate:  Clean-ups are needed year-round, although targeted areas may change as groups volunteer. Early in Fall semester and anytime after the snow melts are excellent times.  Summer clean-ups along the local creeks are much appreciated.

Trash Talking

Outgoing, friendly people are needed to talk a little trash!   The purpose of trash talking at UMD is to educate people and reduce the amount of recyclable and compostable items going to the landfill by teaching people to sort properly.

Students who participate will wear official Trash Talker nametags and stand near high-traffic waste stations to assist people in sorting their materials correctly. A few examples of high-traffic areas are the Food Court or Kirby Student Center Lounge. 

There is always an opportunity to talk trash on campus. Please use our Volunteer Form to sign up and be sure to check the "Trash Talking" box. The Sustainability Office will then contact you to set-up a short training session (10 minutes), introduce you to the materials used to talk trash, print your official name tag, and add you to the Trash Talking schedule.    

Eco Reps

Eco Reps are needed to design, implement, and advocate for sustainable initiatives in the UMD Residence Halls and Apartments.

If you're passionate about sustainability, are interested in being more sustainable, or just looking for a way to get involved at UMD along with other committed students, please fill out this short interest form to get the process started

We look forward to growing this new initiative with you. If you have questions, please contact Jonna at or Sarah at for more information or assistance. 

Waste Audit

Do you find yourself pulling plastic bottles out of the trash bin and putting them in the recycling bin? Do you ever wonder how much of our trash is actually trash? Then you've come to the right place! If you're down to sort through bags of waste and analyze the results then WE NEED YOU!

Waste Audits are conducted every semester to monitor how our waste sorting system is doing and whether or not people are putting the Right Thing in the Right Bin. Each audit helps us to target where to focus our education and outreach initiatives. If you want to volunteer for an upcoming waste audit, please fill out our Volunteer Form and be sure to check the Waste Audit box. 

Check out the results from past audits here. 

Bulldogs Recycle: Tailgating

Volunteers are needed for tailgating at home UMD Football games. Volunteers would show up 3 hours before a game,  and help Bulldog fans sort trash/recycling while they tailgate!  (Volunteers also will receive a UMD Sustainability T-shirt!) 

Email for more details or to sign-up today!

Bike repair 

Description:  As part of the UMD Bike-to-Campus program, you can volunteer to assist in inventorying, repairing, and pricing recovered bikes.   Repaired bikes will be sold as affordable options to UMD students in need of a bike to get them cruising!  Also, any funds raised will help sustain UMD Bike-to-Campus programs.

How to participate:  Your skills in bike repair are appreciated and needed!  Tools and supplies will be provided.  Email or to get involved.

When to participate: Early fall, late-spring, and in the summer are all great times to participate.

Additional resources

The Lake Superior Regional Stormwater Protection Team has prepared a list of Service and Fundraising Projects that are eco-friendly.  (Tip: Don’t hold a car wash without reading this first!)