MSA candidates discuss sustainability
Two candidates said they support creating a sustainability coordinator.
Oct. 24, 2008
This is the third part in a series looking at the Missouri Students Association presidential slates and their platform positions. This issue focuses on the candidates' positions on campus sustainability.
The next issue will be about the candidates' plans for communication with students. The election is Nov. 10 to Nov. 12.
Joe Fessehaye and Lindsey Abell said they are pleased with the sustainability efforts at MU but, if elected to MSA office, would like to increase campus awareness even more.
"Sustainability is important to us," Fessehaye said. "We'd like to thank what Sustain Mizzou is doing. We applaud them. They are not only well informed but actually leading campus efforts in this area."
Fessehaye added that he and Abell would like to work closely with Sustain Mizzou to increase the scale of their efforts by spreading awareness on campus.
This year, MU received a grade of C- on the College Sustainability Report Card, found on greenreportcard.org. Fessehaye said he hopes to work with a group of faculty, staff and students to help improve this score by helping generate campus-wide awareness of and support for efforts.
"With regard to those efforts already being made, we feel that by promoting these activities, we will increase involvement by students who are not aware of what is being done," Fessehaye said.
He mentioned Tiger Tailgate Recycling as a beneficial sustainability program at MU, citing advertising and accessibility as the reasons it has been so successful.
Jordan Paul said creating a new paid professional position, a sustainability coordinator, is key to MU becoming more environmentally friendly. Paul is running with Colleen Hoffmann.
Paul said the campus recycling coordinator saves MU money and a sustainability coordinator would do the same.
"A sustainability coordinator would tell us how to use our power and our energy on campus and would make us more competitive getting grants for sustainability," he said.
Paul also said the creation of this position would institutionalize programs such as Sustain Mizzou, taking pressure off of student volunteers and providing additional support.
In his platform, Paul also said removing trays from the dining halls reduces waste.
He referenced the trayless dining program at Ohio University, which reduced waste by an estimated 20 percent, according to a report from Food Service Director magazine.
Phyllis Williams said though she is not an expert in sustainability, as part of their campaign without a platform, she and running mate Jonathan Snipes would like to talk to experts.
Williams said a lot has been done in the way of sustainability through pushes in departments to consider sustainable alternatives.
"The university has moved toward becoming more and more green," Williams said.
The move to go green also means a cut in costs across the board, as Williams recognizes the financial impact of less waste. When meeting with sustainability experts in the past, she was impressed by their ability to describe sustainability into dollars and cents as well, which everyone can understand, she said.
Williams would like to see the experts on sustainability in the room when decisions concerning sustainable engineering in buildings are made. She also said she supports the idea of a sustainability coordinator.
Ask the experts
Both Paul and Williams said the creation of a sustainability coordinator position would increase campus sustainability, and Sustain Mizzou President Patrick Margherio agrees.
"It's definitely a feasible goal to create a sustainability coordinator position," Margherio said. "It would definitely justify the money allocated to it because it has the potential to save a lot of money for the campus and really increase sustainability."
Margherio also supports trayless dining, another of Paul's ideas.
"It could definitely happen, and the campus has been looking at it for a long time," Margherio said. "There have been studies that have shown it significantly decreases campus dining waste. We just need some student support behind the idea."
Fessehaye said working with Sustain Mizzou is a top priority. Margherio said it's an important step in increasing campus sustainability.
"MSA has been very helpful for Sustain Mizzou in the past few years," Margherio said. "We need MSA to continue getting us in to talk to campus administration."