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Oct. 24, 2017

Northwest receives national recognition for sustainability practices

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski, pictured with AASCU President Muriel A. Howard, accepted the organization's Excellence and Innovation Award in sustainability and sustainable development on the University’s behalf Sunday during the opening session of AASCU’s Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California. (Submitted photo)

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski, pictured with AASCU President Muriel A. Howard, accepted the organization's Excellence and Innovation Award in sustainability and sustainable development on the University’s behalf Sunday during the opening session of AASCU’s Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California. (Submitted photo)

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) honored Northwest Missouri State University Sunday and presented the University with its Excellence and Innovation Award in the category of sustainability and sustainable development.

Now in its fourth year, the AASCU program honors member institutions for excellence and innovation in seven categories of campus life and leadership – teacher education, civic learning and community engagement, international education, leadership development and diversity, regional and economic development, student success and college completion, and sustainability and sustainable development.

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski accepted the award on Northwest’s behalf during the opening session of AASCU’s Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California.

“This is a significant honor for Northwest and a tribute to the groundwork and efforts of so many who have come before us and helped launch our signature alternative fuels program in 1982 – people such as president emeriti Dr. B.D. Owens and Dr. Dean L. Hubbard; Dr. Bob Bush, who was Northwest’s vice president of environmental development; Director of Maintenance Max Harris; Director of Purchasing Wanda Auffert; plant operators and supervisors John Redden and James Teaney; Board of Regents President Alfred McKemy and others throughout program’s history,” Jasinski said. “The University’s contract to implement the new system was $383,033 – or $1.07 million in 2017 dollars. The program has evolved in the decades since to include paper and animal pellets, and it remains a differentiator for Northwest in terms of University operations and facility services.”

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.

Northwest’s legacy of using alternative energy sources and sustainability initiatives dates back to 1982 when the University established a biomass energy system using wood chips under then-President Dr. B.D. Owens. Later, during the early 1990s, Northwest enhanced its energy program by adding discarded newspaper, corrugated and cardboard boxes, magazines and other clean paper products to its alternative fuel processes with the production of paper pellets. 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.

Additionally, Northwest’s recycling program has been recognized three times by the Missouri State Recycling Program. The University’s recycling annually generates revenues of more than $25,000 and helps Northwest avoid paying more than $17,000 in landfill fees. Last year, Northwest diverted 361.4 tons from the landfill. Based on EPA estimates that each pound of landfilled solid waste creates .94 pounds of greenhouse gas, primarily methane, Northwest reduced CO2 emissions by the equivalent of burning 359,000 pounds of coal.

Northwest’s recognition as the Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award winner marks the second time in three years that the University received the Excellence and Innovation Award from AASCU. The University received the honor in international education in 2015.

Winning entries were selected based on evidence of top-level administrative support, connection with an institution’s mission and strategic agenda, contribution to significant institutional improvements or programming, and grounding in research and best practices.

“Innovation at America’s state colleges and universities is focused on advancing the quality of the educational experience for their students and the distinction of their institutions in service to their communities,” AASCU President Muriel A. Howard said at the time of the award’s announcement earlier this fall. “The programs for which these universities are being honored will inspire not only their AASCU colleagues but all of higher education.”

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.


About Northwest Missouri State University

With an enrollment of about 6,300 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location at the Northland Innovation Center and through Northwest Online.

Founded in 1905, Northwest has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report during three of the last four years as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri, and it has met all measures of the state’s performance-based funding initiative during four of the model’s first five years. Safewise ranks the city of Maryville as one of the “Safest College Towns in America,” while has named the Northwest campus one of the “50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.”

The University boasts a 59 percent graduation rate, which is in the 89th percentile of Northwest's national peer group. In addition, 96 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 97 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. Zippia, a career website, recently named Northwest the best college in Missouri for getting a job.

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their resumes with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.

Furthermore, its vibrant and diverse learning community offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $7,300 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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