MU Campus Planning Committee incorporates sustainability into goals

Last March, the University of Missouri Campus Master Plan Committee hosted an open forum to discuss the incorporation of sustainability goals into the Master Plan.

“If we are to continue to be successful in our sustainability efforts, that work must be integrated into our overall approach to campus planning,” said Patricia Okker, chair of the Campus Planning Committee. “Only with an integrated approach can we reach the goals the campus has set.”

The university has established campus wide goals to incorporate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified building projects and has successfully reduced green house gas emissions.

According to the presentation, LEED is a green building rating system based on points. A facility earns points for concepts such as energy and water conservation and proximity to public transportation.

The campus as a whole can also achieve LEED points for water efficient landscaping, site development to maximize outdoor space, environmental tobacco smoke control, on-site renewable energy and innovation in design, the presentation explained.

Okker said recent sustainable accomplishments include a 9 percent carbon emission reduction since 2008 and a 5 percent increase in recycling this year, which results in savings of over $400,000.

“These are just two examples of work being done to insure that we use our resources wisely and that the campus we leave the next generation of students is as beautiful as the one we now enjoy,” Okker said.

By 2016, the Campus Master Plan Committee hopes that 20 percent of dining hall food is local and that a building’s total waste includes 37 percent recycled materials. MU Campus Dining and the Department of Residential Life have their own specific sustainability goals that coincide with the committee’s overall plans.

“Residential Life is committed to building and maintaining residence halls in increasingly sustainable ways,” said Nicole Arnet, Residential Life Administrative. “It is an extremely important consideration in the residence halls.”

Residential Life requests recycled content for new and renovated halls including carpet, furniture, fabric, dry erase boards and flooring.

Metasy is a program used to monitor and control temperatures throughout the residence halls. The staff can use the system to adjust temperatures when the halls are unoccupied for breaks and when the weather changes dramatically.

The plumbing system features fixtures that reduce the amount of water used by students. For example, shower heads in renovated buildings export 1.6 gallons per minute.

“We also encourage environmentally-friendly practices by making them convenient for residents,” Arnet said.

Clothes drying racks are available as an alternative to using dryers, there are multiple recycling locations in each hall and the department is ordering and installing water bottle fillers for seven halls.

Residential Life hopes that communication with residents via email, in-hall marketing and programs such as Dashboard will provide residents with an opportunity to learn about sustainability and teach them environmentally friendly practices that they will continue even after they have left the residence halls, Arnet said.

According to Michael Wuest, marketing manager for MU’s Campus Dining Services, sustainability is an important concept for CDS and the department is looking to implement it into their strategic plan process.

CDS has recently established a trayless dining policy and monitors weekly waste. They use a computerized tracking system to anticipate only the food that is needed.

To provide students with adequate nutrients and support the local economy, CDS purchases products from local Missouri farmers. About 15 percent of CDS’ purchasing is local. On one occasion, Rollins Dining Hall served fresh turnips within two hours of purchasing, Wuest said.

CDS partners with Bradford Research Center to maintain a full cycle composting system. They take food from dining halls and make compost to grow vegetables or feed animals and then purchase the products.

“Our overall program is right in line with other major universities, but we are ahead of the curve on our composting system,” Wuest said.

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Sustain Mizzou

Sustainability is also important on the student level. Sustain Mizzou is a student organization at the University of Missouri whose mission is to promote sustainable living through education and local action. They have various projects and events throughout the year. For more information, check out the tabs to the right of this page or their website here: Sustain Mizzou