Sustain Mizzou hosts annual fall kick-off rally, sets goals for year

Sustain Mizzou will team up with other sustainability organizations this fall to conduct waste audits to keep the MU football stadium consistently cleaner.

Students interested in promoting sustainability at Mizzou met at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 on the Francis Quadrangle for Sustain Mizzou’s annual fall kick-off rally.

After students caught up with friends and ate pizza, Sustain Mizzou President Jackson Hambrick explained the organization’s six ongoing projects for this year: Stream Team, an eWaste drive, a Footprint blog, local food drive, eWeek and recycle printing, as well as their plans to team up with local and student organizations throughout the school year to further their mission.

Sustain Mizzou volunteers will team up with the Sustainability Office and Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism this fall and conduct waste audits as part of a pilot program in hopes of keeping the amount of waste produced by the stadium consistently low in the future. Volunteers will cut trash and count compost material as part of the research efforts for the department.

Last year, Sustain Mizzou successfully helped promote recycling on campus during football games by handing out plastic bags to spectators to recycle their waste.

“People seem to understand how to effectively recycle outside of the stadium, so (this year), we’re going to switch to focusing on low waste and composting inside the stadium,” Hambrick said.

Additionally, Tigers for Community Agriculture,which specializes in vegetable growing, will be in full force in the upcoming weeks, and continue throughout the fall.

Students interested in farming and agriculture have the opportunity to volunteer at the Bradford Research Center Farm by growing, harvesting and eventually selling vegetables by themselves.

Under the supervision of a farming professional, students can take a bus throughout the week to the farm to work in three-hour shifts. Later this fall, students will be able to harvest the vegetables they grow and then sell them back to MU.

“It’s a unique, cool system where students can produce the food and buy it on campus,” Abigail Keel, the project leader for TCA, said. “It’s about the food movement and knowing where it’s coming from.”

This “closed-loop” system – where students grow the food on MU’s property, sell it to MU and then sell it back to Campus Dining Services and students – gives volunteers the opportunity to not only broaden their knowledge about vegetable farming and its processes, but also see their fellow peers and classmates purchase the food they have grown.

“This food project is a chance for students to learn about growing food and focus on what they’re doing and learning about when volunteering,” Keel said. “I’m proud that (TCA is) offering this opportunity for students.”

Hambrick said Sustain Mizzou and their partners are ultimately trying to build lifelong habits in students.

“College is a place where people change and habits can change,” Hambrick said.

Sustain Mizzou hopes to contribute to students’ change by being more adaptable and innovative in their ideas and projects, such as teaming up with organizations like the Environmental Leadership Office and Tigers for Community Agriculture.

“There is no end to sustainability,” former Sustain Mizzou President Nick Drysdale said. “We all share the earth…all live on this rock, and we have to take care of it; we’ve all got to do something.”

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