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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Oct. 21, 2012

Northwest to highlight commitment to sustainability with showcase

A longtime leader in alternative fuels and sustainability, Northwest Missouri State University seeks to educate the University and Maryville communities about its efforts with a series presentations and demonstrations.

The Sustainability Showcase will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the Student Union Living Room and feature displays highlighting the sustainability practices of Northwest Campus Dining and Facility Services. Healthy refreshments will be available, and tours of Northwest’s pellet plant and boiler plant will be offered. 

The student organization, Students Taking Action at Northwest for Developing (STANDS), will sponsor a student vote to determine the location of the newest bottle-fill station on the campus. Like the station already installed at the J.W. Jones Student Union, the new station will consist of an Elkay retrofit for an existing water fountain.

Additionally, the showcase will include presentations about Northwest’s recently established membership in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education as well as the University’s sustainability goals, alternative fuels program and recycling efforts.

John Viau, Northwest’s sustainability coordinator, said the mission of the University’s sustainability program is, in part, to maximize resources and continually recognize environmental impacts while reducing costs. 

“The importance of the program is operating in a way that presents students with the greatest opportunity to understand and embrace the burgeoning global movement,” Viau said. “It’s critical in education and industry and government, so we want students to be able to take away that we’re not just green because we’re Bearcats; we’re green because we understand what it means to be environmentally engaged. We put the processes in place, and we’re educating students about the impacts of this commitment.”

Since 1982, Northwest has been on the cutting edge of alternative fuels. Approximately 75 to 85 percent of the University’s thermal energy needs are provided through alternative fuels, saving taxpayers more than $13 million since the program’s inception. Waste paper collection began in 1992, and Northwest has continuously developed and enhanced its supporting infrastructure. In 2010, Northwest began collecting and recycling glass, using the crushed remnants to supplement snow removal.

In 2011, Northwest’s recycling and sustainability efforts continued to gain momentum. The University unveiled a second recycling drop-off site on its campus, located off Ninth Street just east of the Valk Center. Northwest students also formed S.T.A.N.D.S. and organized the first “Greeks Go Green” recycling competition, which diverted more than 8,100 pounds of recyclable materials from the local landfill over the four-week contest.

With input and guidance from Northwest’s Department of Agricultural Sciences, the University launched a composting program that so far has collected about 200,000 pounds of compost material since the fall of 2011. Northwest collects food waste discarded at its Campus Dining locations and mixes it with other compost materials, which it then uses in flower beds and at the University farm, among other uses.

Additionally, Northwest’s sustainability efforts have earned the University several accolades. Among them, Northwest was a recipient of the 2011 Annual Recycling Award from the Missouri State Recycling Program, which recognizes outstanding contributions in a series of recycling collection, waste or recycled content procurement. The Sierra Club also ranked Northwest at No. 74 on its 2011 list of “cool schools,” which surveyed four-year institutions about their environmental goals and achievements; Northwest was the highest-ranked Missouri university on the list.

“Northwest will continue to seek the most effective ways to prepare our students while working to do so in the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible way,” Viau said. “Innovation drives what we do, but not for the sake of innovation. There are, and will continue to be, opportunities to rise to the challenges of our times, but we have to take a measured and strategic approach to sustain Northwest’s role as a leader in higher education, in our state, and the nation.”

For more information about recycling and sustainability at Northwest, click here.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468