Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

This site is archival. Please visit the current MIZZOU magazine site for up-to-date content.


Change you can sustain

The student group Sustain Mizzou promotes eco-friendly lifestyles


Columbians ride their bikes to home football games.

Conservation, recycling, voluntary simplicity, renewable energy — these are words you probably hear more now than ever, whether in the news or around the dinner table.  But what you may not know is that they’re all part of a larger topic of discussion: sustainability.

Through a variety of projects and activities on campus, the 60 members of the student organization Sustain Mizzou strive to bring sustainability to the student masses.
The group’s primary message is short, sweet and probably familiar: Reduce, reuse, recycle.


Make choices that allow you to take advantage of local resources, rely less on gasoline, decrease your impact on the environment, learn more about sustainability and help others.

  • Start a backyard garden or compost pile: Last fall, Sustain Mizzou’s sustainable development class created compost piles from cafeteria leftovers and cultivated one-sixteenth of an acre. Come spring, the class will plan and tend a garden as an urban agriculture demonstration garden. For information on how to start your own garden, check out books or Web sites on urban agriculture — the process of growing and distributing food in and around cities.
  • Think local: Buy produce from local farmers at farmers’ markets or through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. In Columbia, donate money to Sustain Mizzou’s weeklong food drive in September. Funds are used to purchase food from local farmers on behalf of the Central Missouri Food Bank.
  • Ride your bike: Whether to work every day or just around town, try to replace some of your car trips with bike rides. In Columbia, Sustain Mizzou partners with GetAbout Columbia to increase bicycle awareness and safety, and hosts a Bike Fest every spring to educate the community. In town for the football game? Ride your bike, and don’t worry about finding a parking place. Sustain Mizzou sets up Tiger Cage, a set of bike racks northeast of the football stadium.
  • Spend time in the great outdoors: Learn about and cultivate an appreciation for your natural environment. Help clean up a stream (Sustain Mizzou has its own Stream Team that manages a part of Hinkson Creek), plant some trees, or explore the natural environment through nature walks, camping trips and float trips.
  • Get involved with Sustain Mizzou or a similar organization in your area: Volunteer with or donate to organizations that promote sustainability and environmental protection.

Sustain Mizzou sells notebooks made of recycled paper and uses cereal boxes for covers. At any given time, they are available at the University Bookstore until supplies run out.


Try to find a new use for an item before you toss it. That empty cereal box? It’s not trash. Old T-shirt? Just turn it inside out.

  • Sustain Mizzou notebooks: The group binds paper from the campus computer lab recycling bins between covers made from cereal boxes. They’re available for $2 each at the University Bookstore's new location.
  • Recycled T-shirts: The members of Sustain Mizzou make their own shirts by painting the Sustain Mizzou logo on inside-out gold MU T-shirts.

Sustain Mizzou members recycle Tiger tailgaters' bottles and cans after home football games.


MU recycles about 27 percent of the disposable materials generated on campus, but there’s room for improvement. Current efforts to encourage recycling include participation in the national RecycleMania competition, and Sustain Mizzou heads up a few other projects in Columbia:

  • Not the trash: If you don’t do so already, recycle at home, at work and — that’s right, football fans — at your tailgate party. At all MU home football games, look for Sustain Mizzou volunteers with free recycling bags and information on recycling. After the game, leave the full bags at your tailgate site, and Sustain Mizzou members will pick them up.
  • Check out RecycleMountain: If you’re on campus in March, visit Lowry Mall for an up-close look at how much recyclable material ends up in a landfill. Sustain Mizzou brings blocks of recycled material donated by the City of Columbia to the middle of campus and educates students about how much recyclable material is wasted in a landfill instead of being reused.
  • Recycle ink cartridges: You can recycle your printer’s ink cartridges through Sustain Mizzou or at local computer or printer shops.

Share your comments with Mizzou magazine at

Note: If published, feedback may be edited for length, style and clarity.