David McGraw

By David McGraw, staff writer for The Current

On Thursday, November 6, 2014, a diverse group of members in the University of Missouri—St. Louis community met to discuss a topic receiving more and more attention from the general public: sustainability. The Green Campus Advisory Council, including representatives from the College of Business Administration, the Pierre Laclede Honors College, the College of Education, the College of Professional and Continuing Studies, The Environmental Health and Safety Department, the Association of Student Anthropologists, the Environmental Adventure Organization (EAO), and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM), gathered to brainstorm ways in which these different groups can collaborate and encourage the greater UMSL community to adopt more environmentally friendly behaviors. The group meets bimonthly to discuss their progress toward various initiatives that emerge from their collaborative brainstorms. The emphasis of their meetings was action. This most recent meeting focused on ways to follow through with the UMSL Campus Sustainability Action Plan, and benchmark the University’s progress using the Sustainability Rating & Assessment Tracking System. The efforts of the UM System to become more environmentally conscious gave substance to Chancellor Thomas George and the other UM campuses’ chancellors signing on to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

The goals of the Campus Sustainability Action Plan are expected to be achieved by the year 2025, meaning most of the UMSL students currently enrolled will not be here to see the culmination of efforts over the next ten years. However, this does nothing to diminish current students’ role in achieving these goals. While some components of the plan rest on the shoulders of administrators, such as holding fast to the commitment to certify all new construction on campus as sustainable, many other components are directly affected by student activity on campus. For example, the College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Student Council successfully spearheaded the formation of a minor program in Environmental Studies. This shows how the student voice is heard by the UMSL Administration and can cause immediate change on campus, relevant to the plan and the interest of the students. Also, the recently added blue recycling cans around campus are evidence of the effort of the UMSL Sustainability Team, which includes the Green Campus Advisory Council, the EAO, the campus sustainability coordinator, and 3R’s Specialist. This effort depends on student engagement, as do most things on campus.

For more information, you can reach Sustainability Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla at 314-516-6364, or send an email to sustainability@umsl.edu.


© The Current 2014