In the last decade, the University has taken several major steps in an ongoing energy conservation initiative. These steps include (but are not limited to) replacement of old light fixtures with more efficient newer-generation fixtures, installation of automated systems in numerous buildings to allow temperature setbacks while unoccupied, placement of motion sensor controls on building lighting, and the installation of a chilled water loop across campus to replace 16 old, inefficient chiller units with five highly efficient chiller units. These combined actions are calculated to result in roughly $2M in annual energy cost-avoidance as compared to the previous operating systems. Prior to the installation of the chilled water loop Missouri State was Springfield City Utilities’ largest consumer of natural gas; since completion the University has dropped to the fifth largest position.
Material recycling - Recycling programs for selected waste products are currently in place, although these programs are somewhat fragmented, being operated autonomously through Facilities Management (Custodial), Environmental Management, the Print Shop, and Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services departments. Materials currently being recycled include office/mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, electronic waste (e-waste), metal, toner cartridges, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, smoke detectors, silver from photographic processing, and tires. A telephone directory recycling event is also held annually. All yard wastes are composted by the Grounds Department and reused on the University grounds.
A Solid Waste Audit was completed at Missouri State University by Waste Reduction Strategies in 2005. The audit reviewed solid waste generation and handling practices at the University, and provided some basic recommendations on reducing the volume of waste generated on campus. These recommendations included:
- Completion of a longer term review of dumpster use to better match the frequency of pickup to need, as the audit showed that nearly half of campus dumpsters were emptied before they were half full, and a significant majority were emptied prior to reaching the optimum fill level of 80%,
- Expansion of the cardboard recycling program to include on-site baling and subsequent selling of the baled cardboard, and
- Implementation of a program to promote increased recycling on campus, including a signage campaign spearheaded by marketing students or other student groups.
Chemical Exchange Program – Environmental Management maintains a chemical exchange program by collecting and storing chemicals determined to be surplus by the original purchaser and making them available to other departments at no cost.
In addition, office paper purchased by the University contains 30% recycled fiber content.
While there is currently no specific campus-wide policy, several departments have implemented purchasing strategies to minimize chemical inventories and to replace traditionally used products with more environmentally friendly products.
Curricular and Co-Curricular Aspects of Sustainability at the University
Numerous courses and academic programs exist at Missouri State University that have a bearing on sustainability. A partial list of such courses and programs is attached (Appendix B). Most of these are courses/programs whose themes are overtly related to sustainability or the environment.
Co-curricular activity in the area of sustainability has spawned several student groups and initiatives to promote sustainability on campus. Most of these groups and initiatives have centered around recycling practices. Some of the student organizations with commitment to promoting sustainability include the Sierra Club, 2020 Vision, and the Students for a Sustainable Future.
The university has a shuttle service to connect the main campus with off-campus buildings and locations to minimize the number of cars driven and subsequent need for additional parking, and has established specific bike paths and racks across campus to facilitate and promote bicycle usage.
The University has four electric vehicles used on campus (Receiving and Maintenance Depts.) and is preparing to acquire an additional electric vehicle.
Other Related Developments in Support of Sustainability:
- The University’s Public Affairs theme for the 2008/2009 year will be "Sustainability", culminating in the Public Affairs Conference on the theme in the spring of 2009.
- Missouri State University faculty and units are collaborating with other community groups to plan for the Ozarks New Energy Conference (ONE Conference) slated for February 2008.
- Sustainability was the theme of President Nietzel’s radio phone-in program on Friday, October 19, 2007.
- Three student organizations (Students for a Sustainable Future, the Sierra Club, and 2020 Vision), all involved in sustainability issues, have recently banded together to form the "Campus Coalition for our Environment" in order to undertake joint initiatives. Recent and upcoming events include the "Eco-Palooza" concert and sustainability fair on November 6, 2007 and "Focus the Nation" on January 31, 2008.