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Nov. 8, 2017
Northwest Missouri State University President Dr. John Jasinski on Wednesday thanked members of the University’s Facility Services staff for the work they do every day – work that continues to draw accolades for excellence in sustainability.
“Awards are nice, but what you guys do on a daily basis, doing the right thing, doing it the right way, that’s what it’s all about,” Jasinski told the staff members gathered for the brief reception inside the University’s Facility Services Building. “We talk about being forever green. We talk about sustainability and sustainable development – that’s what you guys do.”
The reception was prompted by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) recent recognition of Northwest. AASCU presented the University with its Excellence and Innovation Award in the category of sustainability and sustainable development, and Jasinski accepted the award on Northwest’s behalf last month at AASCU’s Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California.
“This has nothing to do with me, and I shouldn’t be holding this award,” Jasinski told the staff. “It has everything to do with you guys.”
As discussion continued, staff members reflected on the evolution of Northwest’s alternative fuels and sustainability programs, which were formulated during the late 1970s by then-President Dr. B.D. Owens and other leaders to heat and cool the campus more efficiently. Their efforts led to Northwest establishing a biomass energy system using wood chips in 1982.
Northwest enhanced the energy program during the 1990s by adding discarded newspaper, corrugated and cardboard boxes, magazines and other clean paper products to its alternative fuel processes. As a result, Northwest has realized $15.4 million in energy savings through alternative fuel energy production, allowing the University to reallocate funding to instructional programs and upgrades.
In recent years, Northwest has partnered with the city of Maryville to offer paper and glass recycling to local residents, and its recycling program has been recognized three times by the Missouri State Recycling Program. It annually generates revenues of more than $25,000 and helps Northwest avoid paying more than $17,000 in landfill fees. Additionally, Northwest diverted 361.4 tons from the landfill last year, which, based on EPA estimates, reduced CO2 emissions by the equivalent of burning 359,000 pounds of coal.
Also, Northwest regularly hosts school groups for educational tours that showcase Northwest’s energy facilities and sustainability initiatives.
For the team that leads those programs today, carrying on the University’s legacy of sustainability practices and continuous improvement is what fuels them.
“For me, it’s just carrying on what the people started before and trying to catch up with where we should be today because we can do better and get more innovative,” Chris Redden, Northwest’s hardscape and recycling supervisor, said.
Allen Mays Jr., Northwest’s assistant vice president of capital programs, added, “It’s amazing the story we have. We have some lofty goals, but I do think we’re going to be able to achieve some of them.”
In granting Northwest its Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award, AASCU highlighted the University’s comprehensive sustainability system, which includes programs and services related to energy management, recycling, education and partnerships, and the Missouri Arboretum – a designation Northwest received in 1993 in recognition of its long history of cultivating and preserving trees.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468