Biology Professor Finishes Year as Provost Fellow for Public Affairs

Dr. Alexander Wait
Dr. Alexander Wait

Dr. Alexander Wait spent the 2008-2009 academic year juggling a new set of duties with a familiar twist. The new duties? He was selected to serve as the year’s Provost Fellow for Public Affairs. The familiar twist? The theme for the year was a subject that he is passionate about: sustainability. Dr. Wait’s primary duty as Public Affairs Fellow was to organize Missouri State’s 2009 Public Affairs Conference. The week-long conference, held in April, was a success. It featured national and international speakers and panelists with a wide range of perspectives on sustainability issues. Plenary speakers included a filmmaker, two research scientists, a demographer, a science fiction author, a CEO, and the founder of a website that promotes social justice through entrepreneurship. More information about the conference can be found at http://publicaffairs.missouristate.edu/conference/
In addition to organizing the Public Affairs Conference, Dr. Wait was involved in many other activities that promoted sustainability on campus. As president of Ozark New Energy, Dr. Wait planned the organization’s conference, his second conference for the year. This event was held on the Missouri State campus April 30 – May 1. Dr. Wait was also involved in the student-led event “Focus the Nation” as advisor for the student group “Students for a Sustainable Future.” With help from a competitive grant for recycling—coauthored by Dr. Janice Greene of the Biology Department—he helped to establish a trial recycling program in Temple and Glass Halls. The program allows for the collection of glass, plastic, and mixed paper products, including cardboard. If this pilot program is successful, it could extend across campus. Over the past year, Dr. Wait gave numerous local presentations on sustainability and presented an overview of Missouri State’s commitment to sustainability at the national meeting of the Association for Sustainability in Higher Education.
This past year, Dr. Wait played an important part in the university’s efforts to champion sustainability. Because of these efforts, Missouri State was one of 334 universities to be featured in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2008 National Report Card on Sustainability in Higher Education. More information about sustainability at Missouri State is available at http://www.missouristate.edu/sustainability/

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