TAPP, Sustain Mizzou co-host environmental discussion

A goal of the event was to broaden what sustainability means.
Local contractor Ken Kroll lectures on his practices for sustainable housing development. The lecture was sponsored by Mizzou Tigers Against Partisan Politics.

Tigers Against Partisan Politics and Sustain Mizzou collaborated to host the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Discussion on Thursday in the St. Louis and Kansas City rooms.

It was part of Sustainability Week hosted by Sustain Mizzou.

The event featured two guest speakers: Ken Kroll, a designer of energy efficient homes and a member of Columbia’s Environment and Energy Commission, and Erik Traudes, the vice president of Mizzou Water and Environmental Technologists.

Kroll talked about sustainability in homes, especially newer homes, then discussed costs and benefits of sustainability. Costs include higher cost per square feet, while benefits include lower utility bills, he said.

Kroll also spoke about “net zero” houses and sustainable materials that could be used to build houses, such as cellulose. According to his presentation, the best way to minimize environment impact is “by minimizing the footprint.”

In his presentation, Kroll discussed ways Columbia is promoting sustainability in homes. The city provides a tax rebate to anyone who is energy efficient. He then stressed that education and awareness are key regarding sustainability issues.

Traudes discussed a recent project on studying and collecting storm water runoffs. He said usually storm water pushes all the trash and mud into creeks, which will eventually flow into the river. For the project, his team is using Geographic Information Systems to track down where the storm water flows in order to better manage it.

“I learned a lot about Mizzou’s sustainability and what we do here,” sophomore Emily Holtzman said. “I didn’t really know a lot about our power plant and what goes on with that.”

Garrett Poorman, TAPP’s Director of Education and Advocacy, said the two speakers are very close to the Columbia community.

“They were people we thought would be most educated on the issues that really impacted the attendees of this meeting,” he said.

TAPP President Camille Hosman said TAPP collaborated with Sustain Mizzou to create dialogue on campus.

“(We want to) have students try to problem-solve political issues on campus, and that in itself is sustainable,” she said.

Sustain Mizzou President Abigail Keel said that one of the goals of Sustainability Week was to broaden what sustainability means and help students at MU understand it.

“It’s not just about like being an environmentalist … but really finding how we can incorporate sustainable decision-making into all parts of our lives,” she said. “We approach TAPP as a group who we think is doing a lot of really great work in helping educate students about how to fit holistically and we felt like having some sort of an event that could incorporate sustainability … approach it from all sides.”

Keel said they hope this event helped students understand their own agency as citizens of the country and this university, and they have power in making decisions in environmental issues.

She also mentioned there are a lot of issues affecting us locally that are wrapped up in politics.

Keel said it’s easy to get caught on huge issues like climate change.

“Hopefully students have walked away understanding that they can have a real effect on those,” she said.

Hosman said one of TAPP’s goals for this event was to think about environment policies.

“That’s the natural connection between politics and sustainability,” she said. “But also kind of to have people think of this unexpected partnership between TAPP and Sustain Mizzou — that maybe these two organizations that don’t necessarily have the same goals can still work together.”

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