Many Americans are concerned about leading a more sustainable life and conserving our resources to leave a better world for future generations. When large businesses and organizations get involved in the cause, it makes a big impact.
The sustainability buzz is all around the MU campus, from student organizations to Campus Dining Services (CDS).
One group that has made a great impact all over campus is Sustain Mizzou. Sustain Mizzou meets every other week, and carries out multiple sustainability projects such as recycling ink, creating notebooks out of recycled materials, and running an outreach table, which is on display in the Student Center every Monday morning.
“We started doing it this year in order to encourage more participation in our projects and inform the student body about the existence of Sustain Mizzou,” said Abigail Keel, president of Sustain Mizzou.
Sustain Mizzou also helps run Sustainability Week, a week that educates students on the different ways they can conserve resources on campus. There are several events during the week, and each day focuses on a different resource that can be saved, such as electricity or fuel.
“Last year was the first year that we ran Sustainability Week,” Keel said. “We plan to have an even bigger impact this spring on campus by partnering with some major groups on campus.”
One of those groups is Coal Free Mizzou, a group with a mission to reduce coal usage on the campus.
A big impact on the MU environment is made by CDS, which serves students all over the campus and recently started their Earthright Project. For the project, CDS installed a solar-powered picnic table outside the Plaza 900 dining hall in February 2012.
CDS buys much of its food locally, which not only stimulates the local economy, but also saves on gas with the producers not having to drive as far to deliver the food.
“We buy anywhere from 14 to 17 percent of our food locally,” said Michael Wuest, marketing manager for CDS. “We define local as Missouri-based companies, but we have a lot of vendors that are local to Boone and neighboring counties, including Missouri Legacy Beef, Central Dairy, MoFood4MoPeople, Stanton Brother’s Eggs and Bradford Farm.”
After the food comes from local farms, onto the plates of students, CDS works to compost the leftovers at Bradford Farm, which has started a composting system with the help of students and faculty. This compost will be applied to soil to grow the food that will, once again, go back to CDS.
In addition, the campus has also constructed a wind turbine and a biomass-fueled boiler at the MU power plant. In addition, a $5.4 million grant has been given from the U.S. Department of Energy to research biofuel crops and how they can be converted to liquid fuel.
With all of these big players, the MU campus is progressively producing less waste and helping to create and use alternative sources of energy.