Sustain Mizzou makes plans to create community

The organization will hold biweekly potlucks at Sustainahouse this year.

Sustain Mizzou is ready to start the school year by fostering friendships and starting new projects.

Vice President of Communications Julia Zender said the first goal of the organization this year is to create a strong community. She said in previous years attendance at meetings and events is high at the beginning of the semester, but it trickles after that.

“We’re really focusing on building community within our organization and creating friendships and just relationships so that we can keep those members strong and do more and better work,” Zender said.

In order to create this community, Sustain Mizzou plans on having biweekly potluck dinners open to all members. The dinners will take place at the Sustainahouse, a house located on East Campus that has been serving as a sort of headquarters for the organization.

Members can apply to live in the Sustainahouse. Zender said about eight people live there currently.

“They are doing their own research about sustainable living so that they can find out how living sustainably affects the world or each other,” she said.

Another project Sustain Mizzou is working on is volunteering with the Center for Columbia Urban Agriculture on a campus community garden. Although this is not a project created by Sustain Mizzou, many members are planning to volunteer.

Zender said they are working closely with the Childhood Development Learning Center on this project.

“We want it to be for younger children to learn so they can go in and experience gardening and planting and start kind of an outdoor classroom,” she said.

The garden, which will be located by Gwynn Hall behind the greenhouses, will hopefully have three small beds with tomatoes, greens and berries. Zender said the garden will hopefully happen this spring although it is still in the works.

Working with children is new for Sustain Mizzou, Zender said. Generally, the organization sticks to working with students and the community.

One of the community groups Sustain Mizzou works with is the Missouri River Relief.

“Usually in the fall we have a campout,” Zender said. “We go, we work on the river, we clean up the river and then have a little campout.”

Zender said Sustain Mizzou’s main project over the past few years has been Tiger Tailgate Recycling. During Tiger Tailgate Recycling, members provide tailgaters at home games with recycling bags, keep an eye on them so they can provide more if they overflow and later clean them up. Another large project is a local food drive.

“We have a lot of volunteers dress up in vegetable costumes and we have big cans placed all around campus asking for money that will support local farmers, which in turn will support local food,” Zender said.

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