MU Sustainability Week spreads importance of sustainability through partnerships with other organizations

Featured events included Thursday’s rally, calling on MU to use more renewable energy and Ecochella Friday night.
A sign from the Ecochella event held by Sustain Mizzou on April 12, 2019. Courtesy of Facebook via Mizzou Sustainability Week

Sustain Mizzou held Sustainability Week April 8 through April 13, featuring a variety of events during the week to underline the significance of sustainability in students’ lives.

“Sustainability Week has been a long running tradition with Sustain Mizzou and the Sustainability Office, and it’s a way to show people how the university is sustainable or what’s going on on campus or how you can be more sustainable in your life,” Sustainability Week co-coordinator Kathryn Kidd said.

Sustainability Week began on Monday, April 8 with Sustainapalooza, located in the MU Student Center. The purpose of the event was to kick off the week, along with a screening of a documentary, and bring awareness to different organizations on or around campus dedicated to sustainability, including Sustain Mizzou and the on-campus office.

“We really want to spread awareness that we’re here and it’s a campus-wide effort to be the sustainability change we want to see,” Sustain Mizzou member Sydney Schack said.

Organizations and student resources at Sustainapalooza included Mizzou Tigers for Tigers and the MU Student Health Center as well as the MU Honors College and off-campus organizations in the Columbia area such as Peace Nook and the Columbia Farmers’ Market.

The Honors College was involved in Sustainability Week to support the efforts of Sustain Mizzou, volunteering at Wednesday’s Recycle Mountain in Speakers Circle and Friday’s Ecochella while also encouraging students to join courses available next semester related to sustainability.

“Seeds of Equity is a class that the Honors College is promoting,” sophomore Zoe Rich, who was representing the Honors College at the event, said. “It focuses on sustainable farming and especially working to highlight marginalized groups within that community. It was started by the founder of the Henry Kirkland Community Garden, which is located right near the MKT trail. That project is a part of a bigger project called the [George] Washington Carver project.”

Those involved in planning this year’s Sustainability Week worked to partner with non-environmental groups to expand students’ perceptions of sustainability. A result of this effort was the Sustainability Ambassadors Presentation on Tuesday in the MU Multicultural Center, where students could come in and discuss sustainability over lunch.

“Particularly this year I have been really trying to focus on broadening people’s definition of sustainability, so it’s not just environmental sustainability,” Kidd said. “We’re talking about social sustainability and economic sustainability as well, because if you don’t address all of them, then you are not addressing the problem.”

Sustainability Week also held a rally at the columns on Thursday afternoon in partnership with the Mizzou Energy Action Coalition to promote the importance of sustainability for environmental health. The rally featured speakers from multiple organizations on and off campus.

“This rally is put on by Sustain Mizzou and the Mizzou Energy Action Coalition to raise awareness on campus of the growing concerns of its students, calling the University of Missouri to action,” Haley Gronniger, Mizzou Energy Action Coalition president, said. “We call for the university to divest from fossil fuels and to invest in renewable energy. We call for the University of Missouri to adhere to its students’ demands.”

Through the efforts of its coordinators, Sustainability Week brought together many different organizations in the Columbia area, emphasizing the value of collaboration and connections in the MU community.

“I hope that people recognize that [Sustainability Week] is a student-ran thing, and the way that we pulled it off is through partnerships, through building that community to support each other,” Kidd said. “I want people to walk away knowing that Mizzou is a lot more interconnected than we might think.”

Edited by Laura Evans |

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