Pablo Puig, Staff Writer
The University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Green Campus Advisory Council (GCAC) held their final meeting of the 2019 spring semester April 25, during which the group recapped their recent efforts and presented upcoming initiatives. Also known as the Green Team, the GCAC met frequently throughout the semester to discuss strategies for the overall UMSL population to comprehend and practice environmental sustainability.
Although GCAC is mainly comprised of representatives from affiliate organizations, both student and administrative, the group welcomes any UMSL community member interested in sustainability to enter and participate in their monthly, hourlong discussions.
There are four ways in which UMSL students can contribute to sustainability initiatives: certain clubs are already aligned with environmentalist goals, such as the Environmental Adventure Organization (EAO) and the Biology Grad Students Association (BGSA). Paid student-worker positions exist, with additional funding recently secured for these. Of course, there’s also the GCAC, primarily a space for discourse and coordination between UMSL groups and finally, individual advocacy is considered essential to these efforts.
Naturally, the Green Team was responsible for UMSL’s Earth Month activities, such as: donated clothing giveaways, awareness campaigns & displays, documentary showings and assorted sustainability efforts.
Among the most notable of these was the Bottled Up Project which gathered misplaced water bottles and entrusted them to UMSL Dining Services for sanitization and redistributed to the UMSL community. These bottles are lost at an approximate rate of one per day and would be thrown out if unclaimed. Additionally, should any particular bottle be sought by its original owner, the Green Team is committed to facilitating the reunion however possible. “Our project is meant to be positive; we’re not trying to steal from anyone,” said Katy Mike Smaistrla, sustainable energy and environmental coordinator.
UMSL’s Earth Month activities will culminate in the St. Louis Earth Day Festival held at Forest Park’s “Muny” amphitheater grounds, April 27 and 28. At this event, everything from the food to the fun is centered on environmentalism, with even the waste kept to negligible levels.
Though the semester is near its end, the GCAC will participate in green events during May and June. On May 3 at 1 p.m., a documentary on transportation’s environmental effects, Bikes versus Cars, will be shown at UMSL’s Pilot House. On May 4 at 10 a.m., the Community Garden will celebrate its opening; beds are still available for adoption and tools will be provided, should any group wish to sponsor one. Additional details can be found on the UMSL Sustainability Facebook page; volunteers are wanted and welcome. May 8 and May 17 are Bike to UMSL days, during which people are encouraged to forego automobiles and instead use bicycles to get around. On May 16, Shred Day, unwanted documents are collected and disposed of properly. Finally, June 8, an electronics collection drive will take place; volunteers are in greater need due to the activity’s much wider scope.
Despite so many upcoming events, the GCAC has yet to determine whether it will be active throughout the summer semester. Regardless, the Green Team will undoubtedly renew its efforts in the fall period.