The 16th annual Choose Environmental Excellence Awards luncheon was held on April 29 and featured numerous organizations and individuals committed to sustainability, including Missouri State University. Twelve organizations presented a total of 21 awards celebrating efforts, dedication and accomplishments of a wide variety of recipients.
Choose Environmental Excellence provides a venue for bringing together local environmental and conservation agencies and organizations, and recognizes those who have made special contributions toward their respective missions. Several Missouri State organizations and employees were recognized:
- Missouri State University Dining Services — Chartwell’s was recognized for the leadership role they have taken in the area of sustainability for a number of years. Its sustainability initiatives focus on four key areas: environment, purchasing initiatives, community, and nutrition and wellness.
- MSU’s Dining Services uses an electronic dashboard called Carbon Footprint to measure a variety of metrics. In the past year, 360,000 pounds of organic waste have been composted, 500,000 gallons of water have been saved as a result of trayless dining, and 8,000 reusable water bottles have been distributed to students. Dining Services has purchased hydroponic towers to grow herbs and greens all year round in the dining centers. Tony Hein accepted the award for Chartwell’s.
- The Missouri State University Sustainability Advisory Committee also recognized Max Wagner as the “Champion of Sustainability” for his work during his time as a student at Missouri State. Wagner is a senior administrative management major, minoring in history. He currently serves as the Student Government Association’s (SGA) director of university advancement.
- Max has been heavily involved in sustainability throughout his career at Missouri State. As a freshman, he served on the SGA Sustainability Committee. As a sophomore, he served as the SGA Director of Sustainability and, as a junior, he was elected SGA Chief Sustainability Commissioner. He led the initiative to establish a Zipcar car-sharing program on campus and co-wrote the proposal for the Solar Stop, the first ever large scale solar project on campus.
The Missouri State University Sustainability Advisory Committee and employees and faculty also presented awards to winners.
Each presenting organization at the luncheon determined its award criteria and selection process as well as its own physical manifestation of awards—often making for creative and unique works of art and meaningful keepsakes for the recipients.