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Connecting with College Gen Z during Earth Day Celebrations

May 29, 2024


3 minute read

Midwest Dairy is committed to sharing dairy’s sustainability story with consumers. Checkoff highlights dairy farmers’ long history of being stewards of their cows and the Earth. Recently, Midwest Dairy shared this sustainability story with Gen Z college students at various colleges across the 10-state region, including the University of Illinois and Iowa State University (ISU).

At ISU, Midwest Dairy formed a valuable partnership with sustainability thought leaders and Gen Z students from the Live Green! organization, led by their advisor, Merry Rankin. Together, we brought dairy messaging to life at their annual Earth Day event, demonstrating our shared commitment to sustainability and the environment. The event was a testament to the power of collaboration, offering diverse Earth-minded engagement opportunities, sustainability-focused giveaways, free bike tune-ups, and music.      

Over 500 students, faculty, and staff participated in the Earth Day campus celebration this year. Midwest Dairy also collaborated with the Dairy Science Club on campus to bring dairy sustainability messaging to the event. The Dairy Science Club engaged with their peers and had meaningful discussions about dairy sustainability and animal care with attendees. Through this partnership, Midwest Dairy reached participants at the event and those who interacted with the partner’s social media platforms before, during, and after the event.    

The University of Illinois also celebrated Earth Day by highlighting dairy sustainability. Midwest Dairy partnered with the Illini Dairy Club to increase awareness of dairy sustainability practices during the University of Illinois’ Sustainapalooza event. Sustainapalooza was held on Earth Day in April on the main quad, right outside of the Illini Union. This central location captured the attention of over 4,000 University of Illinois students who attended the event, which featured food, live music, an art show, a clothing swap, vendors, and tabling. The event was sponsored by the Illini Union Board and Students for Environmental Concerns at the University of Illinois.  

Illini Dairy Club Members

The Illini Dairy Club, with support from Midwest Dairy, had a tent, banners, and posters featuring the message “Life without dairy is unsustainable, so we’re making dairy more sustainable”. The club engaged with students through PLINKO, where students were asked dairy sustainability trivia questions. Students who participated in trivia received a canvas reusable bag with dairy sustainability messaging. Over 200 bags were handed out to students on campus.  

The event’s success has sparked discussions between Midwest Dairy and the Illini Dairy Club about future collaborations. We are exploring ways to reach more students in the Fall and continue to aim to increase awareness of dairy farmers’ commitment to sustainability. This partnership fosters peer-to-peer interaction among Gen Z and underscores our shared goal of promoting dairy sustainability to all!