Sustaining the Earth is not an easy task. It requires creativity, hard work and commitment. The sustainability team at Missouri State University has all of these traits and knows that it takes more than just recycling.
“While saving energy and water are fundamental, there are many issues which need to be addressed to create a sustainable society,” said Jordan Schanda, sustainability coordinator.
The office of publications, the campus garden and the bookstore turned old Missouri State banners into reusable bags. Half of the bags will be used for the campus garden. The other half are on sale at the bookstore.
The campus garden uses these bags to provide produce to members. After members take home their weekly share, remaining produce is donated. In eight weeks, the garden has already donated nearly 300 pounds of produce to The Well of Life food pantry.
Other university initiatives include:
- The RecycleMania Art Display Contest raised awareness about the national RecycleMania competition between colleges and universities. The Meyer Library Green Team and Eco-Rep display was the 2017 winner for the campus art contest. The contest not only demonstrated sustainable art, but also promoted recycling on campus as part of the national RecycleMania competition.
- Hydration stations that easily fill up reusable bottles have saved 2.7 million plastic water bottles from being used since they were installed. Thirty buildings on campus have over 60 stations available for use.
- Green Teams is a faculty and staff led initiative that commits offices to lessening waste on campus. Several Missouri State departments have Green Teams that work on lessening the environmental footprint.
One of the more creative ways to go green are ZipGrow towers. With these hydroponic growing towers, dining services can grow local, all-natural produce year-round. The university has reduced environmental impact by growing food instead of shipping in tens of thousands of dollars of produce each year.
“The ZipGrow towers encompass what it means to be sustainable, while also fulfilling our duty as a higher education institution to educate our students on how to be sustainable citizens and consider the global ramifications of their actions and the actions of others,” Schanda said.
The College of Agriculture made it possible for students to intern with these ZipGrow programs. They learn more about produce and innovative ways to sustain crops.
Sustainability goes further than just the natural world. The 2017-18 public affairs theme covers every aspect of sustainability that pertains to human behavior: government, business, education, the arts, the sciences, health, human services and more.
“True sustainability requires that we foster environmental, social and economic sustainability,” Schanda said.
Another way sustainability is showcased is through the sustainability minor. More than 50 students are enrolled in this minor from 23 degree programs.
Construction, building improvements
Recent construction and renovation projects include the following sustainability improvements:
- During the computer lab renovation in Cheek Hall, Missouri State was able to recycle 11.13 tons of metal, salvage 1,500 square feet of insulation and save 62 light fixtures.
- In Ellis Hall, with new lighting and fan upgrades, the energy usage should go down by 16 percent.
- Solar shade screens on the Karls Hall Greenhouse reflect heat or provide a thermal blanket to keep the plants at the best temperature without using electricity.
- Missouri State expanded parking lot 39 with concrete instead of asphalt. Concrete reduces the heat island and reflects more light instead of trapping heat like asphalt does.
- With the almost $27 million Glass Hall renovation and addition, the sustainability improvements included more energy efficiency, a healthier interior using more natural light, green materials, and easier transit and mobility to and from Glass Hall.
- Sensors and controls for lights and temperature were installed in five buildings. The energy consumption has been lowered 13 percent, up to 85 percent in some areas.
“We are striving to promote values such as community service and engagement, support our local economy with our purchasing choices, provide sustainable compensation to our employees, and ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are a priority not only on our campus but in our community as a whole,” said Schanda.
Thanks to the Student Sustainability Fund, a $2 fee students pay and the president matches, several projects have been completed and funded. The Solar Stop outside of Meyer Library, LED upgrades on walkways, hydration stations, more ZipGrow towers and the campus garden have come out of this $150,000 annual fund.
“Sustainability is more than just recycling or turning out the lights,” Schanda said.
For more information, contact Schanda at 417-836-4993.