MSA presidential slates discuss sustainability initiatives
The candidates bring new ideas as well as plan to work with established organizations.
Oct. 16, 2012
The Droege/Beattie slate looks at sustainability in two ways: environmental sustainability and Missouri Students Association sustainability.
In regard to the environment, Droege/Beattie is focusing on doing small things and educating students.
“We don’t have a ton of say when it comes to the bigger things on campus,” Droege said. “The things we can do and should do are the simpler things.”
These simpler things include placing “Recycle Me” logos on recyclable MSA products such as event fliers. To achieve the bigger things, Beattie said he and Droege would work with environmental organizations such as the Environmental Leadership Office, the MU Sustainability Office and Sustain Mizzou.
“They’re the experts, so we want to work with and expand their programs,” Beattie said.
This would include helping with MU’s Sustainability Week.
Droege and Beattie also want to focus on educating students. One example is labeling all local foods in the dining halls. They also plan to work with the Campus Dining Services to create a clean plate program, which would provide incentives for students to minimize their waste in dining halls.
Another part of sustainability for the Droege/Beattie slate is MSA sustainability.
“You want to make sure that (with) the programs that you start (and) the changes that you make, the next group that takes over sees why you made those changes and the history of it, so they don’t take steps backward, they just take steps forward,” Droege said.
Beattie said they would accomplish this by putting all of their plans and actions in writing. He also said he wants to compile lists of advisers and other people as contacts for future MSA presidents and vice presidents.
These actions would provide a smoother transition for MSA executives, Droege said.
Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano have plans for campus sustainability they say are unique to their slate.
All three slates have voiced support for Mizzou Dashboard and Coal Free Mizzou, but Catalano said only their slate has plans to implement victory gardens around campus.
These gardens would be placed on rooftops and in small plots around campus to help students learn about growing and sustainability, she said. The produce grown in these gardens would be used to supplement dining hall foods and offer more gluten-free and vegetarian options to students. She said they have been working with Student Sustainability coordinator Ben Datema to figure out how to make the initiative work.
“Currently, right now, most dining halls do not have very many gluten-free or vegetarian options for those who have dietary constraints,” Catalano said. “We want to work with the dining halls that currently have this compost program that they have going on. We would use that compost program to grow some things on campus to have more of those dietary options fulfilled.”
Catalano also said they want to make sure students are well-educated about sustainability and what they can do to help.
“I think it is very important to educate students on all of these aspects,” Catalano said. “One, so they know it’s there. And two, this is a learning environment, and the more they know about their own learning environment, the better. We have so many resources here on campus, and it would make sense to exploit everything we have.”
Recycling, energy efficiency and alternative energy encompass the sustainability plan of Tom Wright and Bo Mahr. Improvement of these issues is most integral, as MU ranked 179th in the national Recycle Mania competition, vice presidential nominee Mahr said.
“All these things that can be recycled people just don’t know can be recycled,” Mahr said. “We (need) to try to boost the awareness of everyone on campus.”
Mahr has previously interned at the Missouri Recycling Association, where he gained firsthand knowledge of what problems faced recycling and what needed to be done to improve it. Part of the Wright/Mahr platform is to improve labels on recycling bins around campus, especially for paper, Mahr said.
MSA programs such as Bike Share would continue to receive the same support they do under the current administration. Raising awareness of it could continue to better the new program, presidential nominee Wright said.
“I see those black and gold bikes everywhere,” Wright said. “It’s something we could really look to expand.”
Wright and Mahr said they have identified the coal plants on campus as a major issue. Their elimination is vital and a goal that is attainable in the long run, Mahr said.
“We both realize that within our term, (some things) won’t happen,” Wright said. “But it doesn’t mean you can’t strive for it and lay the groundwork.”