The University of Missouri may seem a little greener this week — at least symbolically.
Sustain Mizzou, a student-run nonprofit that promotes economic and ecological sustainability, brought back Mizzou Sustainability Week on Monday for its seventh year. The weeklong series of events — held mostly on campus — will run through Saturday and include a range of educational and recreational activities.
Started in 2012 as a student project, the annual event has included a number of partner organizations, including the University of Missouri and the City of Columbia, and covers topics like best recycling practices, tips on how to garden or plant trees, and even hosts an annual clean-up day of the Missouri River.
But to Megan Tyminski, president of Sustain Mizzou, sustainability is about more than simply recycling. It’s about understanding how small, individual actions fit into larger systems that she says many people take for granted.
That can mean looking for local and fair-trade businesses to support, Tyminski said, or even just being aware that what gets thrown away, like electronics, ultimately becomes someone else’s problem.
“There’s a lot of different opportunities throughout the week, like the electronic waste drive … where you can do very small things like dropping off old chargers,” she said. “It’s just a little step, but the big picture is that that electronic isn’t going to be shipped off to a different country and put in a landfill that you don’t have to deal with.”
Other notable events include a speaker panel on sustainable practices by local leaders on Thursday and something called Recycle Mountain on Wednesday. That’s where the city brings in four tons of recycling and piles it in the middle of campus to show what still gets thrown into the Columbia landfill every day.
“It’s quite literally a mountain of recyclables,” Tyminski said.
There will also be a screening of Former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel, at Jesse Wrench Auditorium on Wednesday evening.
Ultimately, Tyminski said, she hopes the week’s events inspire some students to start thinking about how they can adjust their behavior in simple and practical ways to live a little more sustainably — even if most students just come to grab a burger at the farmers market.
“Hopefully sustainability week is an accessible way for students to be exposed to some of those ideas,” she said.
A full list of the week’s events is available on the group’s event page on Facebook.