Report on the Future of Sustainability at Missouri State

December 2007

Executive Summary

Recognition of the potential far-reaching impacts of our society on the natural environment is fueling a growing movement within higher education communities to reduce their environmental footprint and create an environmentally sustainable system. Because of their unique position in society, colleges and universities are well-positioned to take appropriate actions, including direct actions that reduce waste, modeling these actions to the surrounding communities, and educating students in life-long strategies for sustainable living.

This report contains the findings of the Sustainability Subcommittee with regard to environmental sustainability at Missouri State University. The basic principle guiding the subcommittee consisted of the initial charge to determine a recommended initial focus which will allow Missouri State University to most appropriately and effectively participate and show leadership in environmental sustainability, weighing all relevant factors including cost. To accomplish this goal, the subcommittee looked at actions taken by our benchmark institutions, reviewed the steps toward sustainability that Missouri State University has already taken, and weighed suggestions made by the stakeholders represented within the Subcommittee: students, faculty, and staff.

Recognizing that "sustainability" encompasses a broad range of issues and potential actions, the Subcommittee has developed several broad recommendations for this report. These recommendations are intended to be the foundational building blocks of a program that will place Missouri State University in the forefront of environmentally sustainable practices for the southwest Missouri community.