New leadership means new plans for Sustain Mizzou

A new program will allow students to live sustainably in a house sponsored by the group.

With the election of a new Sustain Mizzou president comes new ideas, and President Tina Casagrand plans to start the year with a variety of service projects.

"Sustainability has to do with more than the environment," Casagrand said. "There is also cultural and social sustainability. Ultimately we want everybody to have a healthy lifestyle."

One active role Sustain Mizzou will play in the community is through St. Francis House, the local homeless shelter. Sustain Mizzou plans to use money raised from its food drive to purchase local food as well as provide cooking instruction.

"A lot (of the food) they get is good, but it would be nice if they had more fresh food cooked for them," Casagrand said. "The problem is that the volunteers may not have the time, resources or know-how to cook a lot of fresh local food. So we would like to work with them."

The organization wants to increase its on-campus presence through a new program, Sustainahouse. For this project, Sustain Mizzou will rent a house within walking distance of campus where four to eight students will be able to live sustainably.

"The main goals of the house will be changing behavioral habitats to be more sustainable, like shorter showers, reusing products instead of buying new ones, growing our own food and cooking with sustainable locally grown food," said Claire Friedrichsen, facilitator for Sustainahouse and the Sustain Mizzou website. "We would like the house to become an experimental living and learning lab that allows the general public and other Mizzou students to learn from."

Friedrichsen said Sustain Mizzou plans to create a service learning class and provide tours of the Sustainahouse. It will begin advertising for potential tenants this December for the 2011-2012 school year.

Sustain Mizzou has also created new programs within the organization. The reading and media group aims to educate members in sustainable living. Members will bring books, articles, documentaries and other media to facilitate discussion among the group.

"All kinds of media really drive any kind of movement," Casagrand said. "It's important to be able to reference those (media) and be literate in sustainability in order to do effective action projects. The idea is to inspire and educate ourselves."

The organization plans to reach out to new audiences by updating resources already in place. Footprint Magazine, the organization's publication, will expand its audience by creating an online presence. A benefit concert is also being planned in support of local food.

"We can educate people though entertainment," Casagrand said.

Sustain Mizzou intends to also revive its outreach table that once occupied a place in Brady Commons.

"We plan to have a table in the new student center where students can drop off batteries and inkjet cartridges (to be recycled)," Casagrand said.

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