MU goes green with second annual Sustainability Week

Sustain Mizzou’s second Sustainability Week hopes to be bigger than ever.

April showers have livened up the Francis Quadrangle, but it’s not the only thing going green. Next week marks the second annual Sustainability Week, hosted by Sustain Mizzou.

According to its flyer, the event, which spans April 15-19, will “promote education, collaboration and a deeper understanding of sustainability at Mizzou.” There will be events throughout the week that correspond to each day’s theme. Monday, for example, focuses on sustainability at MU, while Friday’s theme is “Sustainable Business.”

Sustain Mizzou President Abigail Keel said the goal with Sustainability Week this year was to provide a broader investigation of what sustainability means.

“We want to show how it intersects with everything out there,” Keel said. “We took areas that already existed on campus or things people are interested in and engage people. We really want to expand our base and reach.”

Keel said the first event of the week, Monday’s Kickoff Rally, is one of the most important. It’s geared towards people who don’t really know what to expect by offering them a huge variety of tables to visit.

Keynote speaker Sencer Yeralan will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and Keel said it would be an interesting talk. Yeralan is an MU graduate and now teaches at University of South Florida.

“He lives off the grid,” Keel said. “He’ll be a fun guy to learn a bit from.”

Keel describes Tuesday as a large opportunity for learning.

“That day is Cultural Sustainability,” Keel said. “I’m sure a ton of people are reading it and thinking ‘What? What is this hippie word you’re throwing at me?’”

There will be a discussion about ecofeminism in the Women’s Center as well as a “What is Cultural Sustainability” talk about the crossover between social justice and sustainability.

“Ecofeminism is a cool talk to understand parallels between feminist movement and environmental movement,” Keel said. “Maybe theories about the similarities between women and the earth, and producing life. Plus, there’ll be Chipotle.”

On Thursday, Sustain Mizzou and Tigers Against Partisan Politics are collaborating to host a debate about alternative energy policy.

“We’re excited to work with them,” Keel said. “Maybe it’ll get a little heated.”

Keel said Sustain Mizzou hopes Sustainability Weeks becomes a stable event on campus.

“You come to a campus and know that there’s Greek Week, know that there’s all these events,” Keel said. “We want it to be one of those things that Mizzou does.”

Keel said this year’s Sustainability Week really hopes to reach out to all of campus.

“I don’t expect every student at Mizzou to come to every event, but I expect every student at Mizzou to come to one event,” Keel said. “It’s all about looking at yourself and where you’re at and then picking an event that matches. Sustainability is more that environmentalism, and it affects everything.”

Laura Hendrickson, Sustain Mizzou vice president of administration, said sustainability is not a concept within its own realm.

“Most people shrug it away and believe that it does not concern them, when in actuality, sustainability concerns all of us,” Hendrickson said.

Keel said that this year’s theme days are designed to reach across different platforms, rather than target specific environmental issues in order to bridge gaps between groups on campus.

“With each of our days themed around specific areas of study and interest, we are attempting to show people that the fight for environmental justice is a universal concept,” Hendrickson said. “We all have the power to make a difference, even if in the smallest ways, and we all call the same planet ‘home.’” 

Sustainability Week beings on Monday, and a complete list of events can be found on the event’s Facebook community “Mizzou Sustainability Week.”

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