Missouri State University
Sustainability Blog

Innovative Idea Competition Winners

Every April and October, the University hosts a campus-wide energy competition called Flip The Switch. This year we wanted to recognize faculty and staff who go above and beyond during the competition. Employees were asked to submit their innovative ideas for a chance to win! The idea could focus on conserving energy on campus, educating the campus about the importance of energy conservation, or increasing participation in our energy conservation competition. The best idea submitted by both an individual and a group would receive recognition and a prize!

Below you can read about the winning ideas and their submitters.

FullSizeRenderWinners pictured from left to right: Kim Dixon, Samantha Mosier, Lexy Bryan and Jordan Endicott

Winning Group Idea

Submitted By: The Green Beans (Political Science Green Team)

Idea co-produced by Samantha Mosier, Jordan Endicott and Lexy Bryan

IMG_1593Idea: We propose ‘flip the switch’ conservation tags that are placed next to light switches. After an audit of how much energy/cost of energy a light fixture uses, a conservation tag is placed next to the switch indicating hourly and annual costs for the light(s) being on. A program developed in Cookeville, Tenn. developed a similar effort that helped city employees develop knowledge on the cost of lighting and encouraged employees to turn out the lights when not in use. The conservation switch tag educates individuals on the costs of lighting and ask them to “Flip the Switch! Please turn off the lights when not in use!” Our three-person team has developed a prototype switch and would be interested in sharing if possible. Also, we suspect that the estimation of cost/energy usage would require knowledge of bulb type, # of bulbs on switch, and more technical knowledge than we possess. The implementation would require individuals or groups to initially request an audit and tag.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your office/department.

We all work in the Political Science Department, where we also share space with the Philosophy Department. Lexi Bryan is a junior majoring in History Education. She is our student worker. Jordan Endicott is our amazing Administrative Assistant. And I, Samantha Mosier, am an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department. Our Green Team is called the Green Beans. We are working towards getting our Leaf Two application in and partnering with the Philosophy Department to expand our team.

What do you like most about working at MSU?

The environment is very supportive and the community is welcoming. We really like working with each other and enjoy opportunities to participant and promote sustainability on campus.

What was your inspiration for this idea?

This idea actually came from previous research project on a public-private partnership between the City of Cookeville, Tennessee and Cummins Filtration. Cummins Filtration developed a program called the Unplugged Challenge and then transferred/taught the program to officials at the City of Cookeville. While the program had a number of components, one low-tech and but very impactful aspects of the program was the creation of light switch energy stickers. The stickers were used to raise awareness among employees as to cost associated with keeping a light on. It was a first, but very significant step for the city to reduce energy consumption.

What do you do personally to live more sustainably?

We each have our own ways to live more sustainably including the following: reducing our use of plastics, using refillable cups/bottles, recycling, turning the lights and electronics off when not in use or needed, biking to campus (that’s Lexi!), or minimizing driving trips by consolidating errands. We are also very conscientious about what we eat, using the stairs, and printing less.

What do you do in your office to be more sustainable?

Jordan implemented a number of sustainability measures when she joined us last year including battery recycling, additional recycling bins, and joining the Greens Beans as a co-captain. We are working towards getting our Leaf Two application together and have plans for a sustainability bulletin board in our office, getting members of the Philosophy Department involved with our team, and are looking to replace older equipment with more sustainable options after the equipment lifecycle is reached. We’ve been looking for ways to reduce paper usage and to seek ways to reuse paper where we only printed on one side.

What do you think is the biggest challenge to sustainability in general? On campus?

It’s really seems like unsustainable behaviors are the result of convenience, lack of awareness, and cost. As consumers we have a tendency to use what is quick, easy, and/or cheap and we may or may not consider the impact of our decision because of the convenience and cost. Here on campus we’ve also observed behaviors that are at odds with sustainability such as using the elevator to go up/down one floor, keeping the lights on in rooms where natural light is plentiful or no one is using, and throwing recyclable materials into the trash. While we aren’t perfect, we do strive to be sustainable and wish to see that in the broader community

Winning Individual Idea

Submitted By: Kim Dixon

Idea: I would like to see MSU adopt these ideas as part of their sustainability pledge:

  1. Provide to staff/students free unlimited use of mass transit to reduce the number of single-occupant drivers and also help with overcrowding of parking lots.
  2. As recycling rates for plastic are low and as high-quality water available around campus, I’d like to see MSU ban the sale of bottled water to eliminate plastic bottle waste. It will also save on man-power for having to empty the recycling bins.
  3. Go to single-stream – more simplistic (only have “recycle” and “landfill”). I believe it will increase the campus waste diversion if the process is simplified.
  4. I’m not sure what campus dining services do with their leftover food, but an alternative to wasting it could be to start a student-powered Campus Kitchen project.
  5. Encourage reusable cup, mug or bottle usage with the Cupanion Rewards app. Work in conjunction with on campus vendors.

Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I grew up in Springfield, went to Parkview High School, moved to St. Louis from 1984-2011. In 2011, I moved back to Springfield and began working at MSU for the Facilities Management Department. I am a mother to three amazing children (Ashley 30, Joshua 29, and Caleb 27), a granny to an adorable grandson (Brady 1 ½), a pet lover to a Pomeranian dog (Tootsie) who is 14 yrs. old and just recently, have taken in a rescue cat (Tabby). In my free time, I like to be outdoors working in the yard, hiking, biking or hunting. I am continually polishing my shooting skills of my Hoyt Ruckus bow and hand gun.

What do you like most about working at MSU?

I love working in a scholastic environment. After my first higher-ed experience of working for Washington University in St. Louis for the Olin Business School, I knew I always wanted to continue working in an educational atmosphere. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow, plus I love the excitement and fresh perspectives students provide. I love the buzz of busyness on the campus. It’s hope, excitement and promise in its purest form. Another perk I love about working for MSU is the credit fee waiver.  I have been taking classes in the evenings for the past two years, working towards an Accounting Degree, and thoroughly enjoy the challenge of expanding my knowledge and exercising my brain. I find satisfaction in being a part of something that changes people’s lives for the better. 

What was your inspiration for this idea?

My motivation for participating in this event is to see the campus continue working towards making sustainable choices in all its processes. All the way from the buildings we build, to the vendors we choose, to the purchases we make, to the food we eat. Lead by example. Continue Thinking Big – Solar parking like California State University which supplies 20% of the universities annual power needs; Solar Hot Water – like University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, which heats its indoor swimming pool from solar collectors on the roof, saving 6,540 therms of natural gas (equivalent to hot water for 20 residential households). Implement more rainwater harvesting on campus which can be used for flushing toilets. Make sustainability more than a buzz word, create an environment where you can’t help but notice it.

What do you do personally to live more sustainably?

Sustainability has always interested me. My first real impression of sustainability came when I was working at Washington University. Because of their sustainability program, I started taking notice on a more personal level. My colleagues were setting examples and making impressions.  The campus had a thriving, active sustainability program that was always catching my attention. At MSU, my interest was fed further. I found great value in the NWEI Menu for the Future classes that Jordan Schanda held, which made me think even more about my everyday choices. Because of that class, I now try to buy local, organic and grass-fed products as much as I can, while avoiding processed food as much as I can. I am encouraged by Pilar Karlen, our campus Energy manager, who creates awareness of utility usage. Because of this, I think twice about the energy I’m using. My current personal sustainability practices are a work in progress. I do the typical – recycle; don’t buy bottled water; instead of using the individual plastic produce bags when buying produce, my co-worker, Emily McGee, made me a reusable shopping bag from plastic grocery bags that I now use for produce purchases; only have lights on in one room at a time; instead of adjusting the thermostat, make other adjustments (layered clothing, or turn on/off a fan, open/close a window); unplug (or turn off the power strip) on appliances/electronics when not in use; downsized material possessions considerably (the minimalist lifestyle is interesting to me – less stuff, less worries, less space needed to store the stuff, less energy needed. Less truly is More.) There is so much more I can do, it’s a work in progress.

What do you do in your office to be more sustainable?

Pretty much the usual things all offices are doing I’m assuming – recycle paper, bottles/cans, cardboard, ink cartridges, batteries. We also have two hydration stations which we use for refilling water containers, reducing the use of plastic bottles. Our maintenance guys recycle metal from their jobs. We have minimized individual trash can usage in the building so that fewer liners are used, power down the computers in the evening, utilize sensor switches in the conference and break rooms, as well as the restrooms and turn off lights when not in the offices for an extended period of time. We have also networked most of our printers enabling us to reduce the number of printers/copiers being used in the department, which equates to less energy being used, less toners/ink cartridges, less spending.

What do you think is the biggest challenge to sustainability in general? On campus?

Changing minds. Sustainability involves the many individual decisions made every day. What helps change minds? Exposure, education, influence from our peers, support from the administration. Sustainability awareness on the MSU campus has grown a lot, I feel like, over my four years here. I’m encouraged by the campus’ support of initiatives which have created savings in utilities, construction of LEED certified buildings, and hopeful that mindset continues and more changes are being put in place. Change is not always easy, nor is it always inexpensive, and the easy way is usually a well-beaten path. What helps me is seeing the big picture of where our world will be if unsustainable practices continue – it is disturbing. If I step outside of thinking of just my life and existence and think of the future of the earth for my children and grandchildren, it makes me think about my choices – where is my trash going? Where does the food I’m eating come from? How was the food made? What kind of sustainable/unsustainable process was involved in making the food I’m eating? How big of a footprint are my daily choices leaving on this earth? Looking at the big picture helps me in making sustainable choices. The earth’s resources are limited and can be taken for granted. This earth is home to billions of humans and animals. Zooming it in to a personal level, would you continually do something damaging to the brick and mortar home you live in (like not fix leaks, or not spray for bugs, not mow the yard)? Probably not, because you want a comfortable, nice place to live. Expand that out to the big picture…….don’t we want a comfortable world to live in? Don’t we want to enjoy our environment with clear babbling brooks, versus the chemical filled streams? Clean air versus a smog filled haze? Do we want to continually cut down forests and turn the green into grime? It is estimated that we use a considerable amount more of natural resources every year than we can put back. That can’t end well. What will be the last straw? When the last straw is placed on the camel’s back, we can know with certainty it wasn’t the single last strand of straw that made the camel’s back collapse, instead it was the fault of all the straws collectively. Therefore, everyone must be involved to achieve environmental sustainability. We must choose our straws wisely. 

Any other information that you think would be important to include…

Bear Up and Be Sustainable!

We truly appreciate all of the faculty and staff who took the time to submit their ideas. We hope this competition will grow each semester and result in changes that will make positive sustainability impacts on our campus!

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Flip The Switch Energy Competition 2016


The University will once again host a campus-wide energy competition in April called Flip The Switch!

Join your fellow Bears between April 1st and April 20th to reduce your energy consumption on campus!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for tips on how you can conserve energy and to stay up to date on the competition and events.

Here is the list of opportunities for students, faculty and staff to get involved (and even win prizes)!

  • Energy Conservation 101: April 5th from 2:00-3:00 pm in Hill Hall 0002. This free training will provide employees with information about the importance of conserving energy on campus and at home. You will learn simple strategies to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. We will also cover the hot topic of renewable energy. View the MSU Calendar event for more info and be sure to reserve your spot through My Learning Connection.
  • Enter our Take the Stairs Challenge! Simultaneously reduce your energy usage and increase your physical activity by committing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Compete with other Bears to see who can take the most flights of stairs in April and win Visa gift cards! Enter here!
  • Energy Conservation Social Media Challenge: Take a picture of the one thing you commit to do to conserve energy in April. Post your picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to be entered to win gift cards to local restaurants and more! Make sure you tag your post with #MSUFlipTheSwitch and @MSUSustain as well as 1 friend!
  • Innovative Idea Competition: Faculty and Staff can make a big impact on campus energy usage by making small changes during the day. This year we will recognize faculty and staff who go above and beyond during the competition. Submit your innovative idea for a chance to win! Your idea should focus on conserving energy on campus, educating the campus about the importance of energy conservation, or increasing participation in our energy conservation competition. Individuals and groups are invited to submit their ideas using this form. The best individual idea will win Boomer Meals. The best group idea (which could be submitted by your office or department) will win a free lunch party. Winners will receive a recognition award and be also be featured in a blog included in Inside Missouri State. Submit your idea on the sustainability website anytime between April 1st and April 15th!
  • Print out the Faculty/Staff Commitment Poster and place a check next to all the practices you pledge to carry out. There is no minimum, but try to set as many realistic goals as possible! Hang this poster on your office door or window to demonstrate your commitments and encourage others to do the same!
  • Residence Hall Energy Competition: Keep tabs on the Building Dashboard to see how you are stacking up against other residence halls on campus. The residence hall that reduces energy consumption the most will win a finals week party and a trophy! Check the Sustainability Homepage every Friday during the competition to see the building rankings!
  • Green Room Certifications: Fill out this quick form to get your Room or Suite, Office, or Residence Hall Front Desk Green Certified! You will receive a badge to hang on your door and other free things.
  • Hour without Power: Each week try to go at least one hour without using any electricity: take a walk, grade papers using only natural light, or eat your lunch outside without the distraction of your phone.
  • Lunch without Lights: For each of the three weeks of the competition, one dining hall will turn out their lights during lunch to raise awareness about the competition and to save energy!
    • April 4th – 8th in Blair Shannon from 11a-1p
    • April 11th – 15th in Garst from 11a-1p
    • April 18th – 22nd in Kentwood from 11a-1p
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rmlogo_new w reg. markMissouri State University is participating in RecycleMania, a national competition between colleges and universities to see who can reduce waste and recycle the most! During February and March, you can help us win RecycleMania by reducing your consumption of disposable goods and recycling everything you can on campus! Join your fellow Bears and make a difference!

Why is it important to reduce, reuse and recycle?newspapers-stack

  • The EPA estimates that 70% of waste is recyclable, but only 30% is actually recycled.
  • Americans send 2.5 million plastic bottles to the landfill every hour.
  • Recycling one stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves an entire tree.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves the amount of energy needed to power a TV for three hours.
  • An average person generates 4.5 pounds of waste per day or 1,643 pounds per year!
  • The average American produces 90,000 pounds of trash over their lifetime.

How can you help us win RecycleMania?


Reducing waste is an important way to reduce your environmental footprint. The best way to minimize waste is to avoid disposable products altogether. If you DO decide to use new products, try to reduce your usage of them.

Tips to reduce waste:

  • Reduce your consumption. Only buy products you absolutely need.
  • Buy fresh and organic produce instead of packaged and fast food.
  • Eat ALL of your food instead of throwing away leftovers.
  • Buy products with less packaging.
  • DON’T buy disposable products like plastic bags, plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, etc…


Many common disposable items can be used more than once OR you can buy durable and reusable versions of them instead!

Tips to reuse:

  • Reuse plastic bags and bottles, glass bottles, and even ziplock bags.
  • Buy (and USE) reusable bags, travel mugs, cups, and bottles.
    • Coffee shops on campus offer a discount when you bring your own mug!
    • The campus bookstore sells green reusable bags for only $1.50 each, and they get you 2% off your entire purchase at the bookstore (excludes electronics and books).
  • Buy used items and donate your gently-used ones.
  • Start a compost pile at home! If you have food scraps leftover from your lunch, take them home and put them in your compost pile. You can then use this as fertilizer for your garden!
  • Take advantage of the reusable cup program on campus.


We use comingled recycling bins on campus, which means you can put all recyclable materials in the same bin.

In the paper bins, you can recycle:

  • Opened mail & greeting cards
  • Office paper, file folders & shredded paper
  • Magazines, brochures & catalogs
  • Newspapers & inserts (NO BAGS)
  • Paperboard boxes & paper bags
  • Phonebooks, paper & hard-back books

In the comingled bins, you can recycle:

  • #1-7 plastics
  • Metal cans
  • Clean, balled aluminum foil/pie pans

These items are NOT accepted in the comingled bins:

  • Glass or ceramic of any kind**
  • Cardboard**
  • Plastic bags
  • Scrap metal (dangerous!)
  • Foam packing materials
  • Plastic microwave trays
  • Ice cream containers
  • Tissues, paper towels, napkins
  • Waxed paper or waxed cardboard
  • Styrofoam®
  • Containers not rinsed or cleaned of food

Paper can be placed in comingled bins, but please put paper in the paper bins when possible.

**Glass and cardboard CAN be recycled in the residence halls and other specific locations on campus. Learn more about recycling on our Recycling FAQ’s page.

Tips to recycle:

  • Schedule a shred event for your office or department during RecycleMania – this paper is recycled!
  • Contact Custodial Services to request a pick-up of any large quantities of paper, such as an office clean out.
  • Recycle batteries, ink/toner cartridges and other e-waste by scheduling a pick-up.
    • Students should look for recycling bins for these items in their residence hall.
  • Host a junk mail opt-out event in your office or department.

Please comment below if you have other ideas about how we can reduce waste and increase recycling on campus.

Thank you for doing your part to reduce, reuse and recycle! Go Bears!







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Sustainability Discussion Courses – Spring 2016


Last semester, we offered the first Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) sustainability discussion course on campus: Menu for the Future. This course met for six, one-hour sessions to discuss the social, economic and environmental impacts of what we eat.

Menu for the Future Testimonial: “I really enjoyed the NWEI course about food and learned so much! The short articles kept my interest when reading and also offered many different perspectives about food topics. My favorite part was discussing the material and choosing an action item to work on. I am now more educated on food related topics, such as organic vs non organic, farmers markets, and food production systems. I also understand that what I eat matters and effects more than just myself.” – Ashley Newson, Junior at Missouri State University

Spring 2016 Discussion Courses

In the spring, we will be offering two NWEI courses: Choices for Sustainable Living and Voluntary Simplicity. Below you can read about each of these courses and see the meeting schedule. We only have space for 12 people in each course, so sign-up today to reserve your spot! These courses are completely FREE, open to all MSU students, faculty, and staff and do not require prior knowledge or experience with the topic.

Choices for Sustainable Living

Participants will meet for six, one-hour sessions to:

  • Explore the meaning of sustainability
  • Consider the ties between lifestyle choices and their impact on Earth
  • Learn about steps that can be taken to move toward ecologically sustainable organizations, lifestyles, and communities

Meetings will be on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. in Meyer Library room 209 beginning January 20th and ending on March 2nd.

Course Flyer: NWEI Choices for Sustainable Living

Voluntary Simplicity

Participants will meet for five, one-hour sessions to:

  • Gain an understanding of the meaning of voluntary simplicity
  • Explore the material and psychological distractions that prevent us from caring for Earth
  • Consider how life might be enriched through the practice of simplicity
  • Develop a personal Action Plan to integrate simplicity into their lives

Meetings will be on Tuesdays from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in Meyer Library room 209 beginning on March 15th and ending on April 19th.

Course Flyer: NWEI Voluntary Simplicity

To sign-up, contact Jordan Schanda, Sustainability Coordinator

Or fill out the online interest form.

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Food Waste Prevention

This is a guest post by Ashley Newson, Junior at Missouri State University and Eco-Rep Coordinator.

November is Food Waste Prevention month at Missouri State University!

We all love food. We all have to have food. So why don’t eat everything we buy? An astounding 50% of food ends up in the trash. Think of the amount of food you’ve thrown out in one day, one week, or one month. Now think of the amount of food that growers and retailers throw out. The amount of food that is wasted is tremendous, but there are ways to reduce our food waste.

In honor of Food Waste Prevention month, there are several events happening on campus:



  • Just Eat It, a food waste documentary, will be shown in the PSU Theater on Thursday, November 5th at 6 PM. This film follows food from the farm, to retailer, to the back of the fridge and reveals how much food is wasted along the way. More information about the event can be found on the Facebook event page.


  • A hands-on composting workshop, hosted by Sustainable by Nature, will take place at the MSU Campus Garden on Thursday, November 12th. Attend one of the three, thirty-minute sessions at 3:30, 4:00, or 4:30 p.m. to learn all of the elements it takes to make great compost. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.

compost-pile square


  • MSU Sustainability is holding a social media contest with weekly prizes from Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks, Homegrown Foods, Farmers Gastropub and more! Post pictures to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show us how you are reducing food waste throughout the month. Tag photos with #LoveFoodNotWaste and @MSUsustain.


Throughout the year there are numerous ways to reduce your food waste and help out others who may be facing food scarcity. The Springfield area is home to many great farmers markets, some are even open year round, that make buying local and buying more fresh produce easy. Donating food is another great way to have a positive impact; Ozarks Food Harvest is one organization that is working to rescue food and get it to those in need in our community. Try your hand at growing your own food, whether at home or at MSU Campus Garden, and then learn about proper long term storage, such as canning. Finally, don’t forget to compost your food scraps into a useful resource. For more tips and resources to help you reduce food waste, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This November, challenge yourself to reduce the amount of food you waste and support your community by buying local and donating food!

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Bottled Water Footprint

This is a guest post by Lonny Goldsmith, Content Development Specialist at Wheels for Wishes

We live in a world where we want what we want, and we want it now. We’re always on the go. Whether it’s running to and from classes, going to the library, or heading to work, we move in fast-paced world where we are looking for the convenient option a lot of the time.

Unfortunately, going for convenience means we aren’t always making the best decisions when it comes to things like eating healthy (running to the nearest fast-food restaurant) or drinking healthy (lots of soda to help you get through the day). But drinking healthy isn’t just about how much soda you drink, or whether you drink enough water, but where your water comes from.

Absolutely, it’s more convenient to run into the nearest convenience store and buy a bottle of water. It tastes better than tap water, right? Americans bought 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water in 2011, and most people don’t realize what they’re getting or what that cost is:

  • What you are getting is almost 50 percent municipal tap water.
  • Nearly all water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic produced from crude oil.
  • The amount of water used to produce the bottle can be up to triple the amount that the bottle actually holds.

Buy a reusable bottle and you’ll save loads of money as well. Fill them up from your tap or any on-campus drinking fountain instead of buying a bottle of water every time you get thirsty. If you’re really concerned about your local water quality, buy one with a filter in the bottle. Replacing a filter will still be considerably less expensive than the water bottles you’ll buy.

Yes, your short term health isn’t being impacted when you buy a bottle of water. In the long-term, the global impact is enormous. Think of how you’ll help change the world when you stop buying bottles of water.

To learn more about the bottled water footprint and how you can reduce yours, check out this informative infographic.


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Sustainability Guide

Sustainability Standardized Logo Horizontal

We have created a handy Guide to Sustainability at MSU. Use this guide to learn more about some key sustainability projects and initiatives taking place on our campus. There is a link to more information for each initiative in the guide. You can also see which projects were made possible through the Student Sustainability Fund! The map icon easily identifies things you should look for as you are walking around campus.

This guide is perfect for new students and families visiting campus this summer. It’s also a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about sustainability at MSU.


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Green Teams Update

GTsLogoWe added an exciting new update to the Leaf Two Application! We are now requiring Green Teams applying for Leaf Two to schedule a Green Team Consult with the Sustainability Coordinator. Every office is different, therefore this will aid Green Teams in identifying sustainability projects that are right for their office and gauging the results of their projects.

The Leaf Two Green Team status is reserved for offices and departments who have set goals to become more sustainable and who are involved in engaging and educating their peers. The purpose of the consult is to help aspiring Leaf Two Green Teams to identify areas of improvement and potential projects and to ensure that each Green Team is being supported in their efforts.

The Green Team Consult allows Eco-Ambassadors to describe in more detail the changes they are already making, ask questions, and suggest improvements to the program. Jordan Schanda, Sustainability Coordinator, is excited about the opportunity to become better acquainted with the Eco-Ambassadors. “I have a list of over 50 project ideas, but not all of these projects will be a good fit for every Green Team. The consult gives me the opportunity to learn more about how their office operates so that we can find the perfect project for them.”

Another important aspect of the Green Team Consult is the opportunity for data collection. Gathering information such as the physical location of the Green Team, the number of employees in the office, as well as the number of computers, desk lamps, appliances, etc… will help identify areas of improvement and quantify results of Green Team projects. According to Jordan Schanda, Sustainability Coordinator, “collecting data is essential to demonstrating success. By conducting the consult, I can determine a baseline for each Green Team and then track their progress as they implement sustainable practices and projects in their office. This will allow each Green Team to see the impact they are making, whether that is energy conserved, dollars saved, or materials diverted.”

The first consult took place last week with the Administrative and Information Services Green Team. According to Andrea Freeman, AIS Eco-Ambassador, “I had a great meeting with Jordan regarding the Green Teams process for our office. It is beneficial for all of us to consider looking at what we are doing for sustainability on our campus, how we can improve and what additional opportunities are available for each of our areas to make more of an effort toward supporting our environment. It is easy and satisfying, when you consider how even the smallest steps toward saving energy and protecting our environment can go a long way for our campus and for our community. I am appreciative of Jordan’s work and help in evaluating what more our office can be doing to support sustainability efforts.”

More information about Green Teams and the Leaf One and Two applications can be found on the Sustainability Website.

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Campus Conservation Nationals


By now you may be wondering: what are all these posters about? What is that giant lightswitch doing in the PSU? Allow us to answer all your questions!

This month MSU is competing in Campus Conservation Nationals, a nation-wide competition between colleges and universities to see who can conserve the most energy! Last year Missouri State University reduced our energy usage by 9.1% campus-wide and placed in the top 20 schools! This year we aim to reduce our energy usage even more and place in the top 10 schools! To do this, we need your help. Campus-wide participation is key to success. But first: why is energy conservation important?

Why Is Energy Conservation Important?

During the Industrial Revolution, coal became our primary source of energy. This helped to make everything more efficient and contributed to our quality of life today. Missouri State University gets a whopping 77.2% of its energy from coal! However, coal is a non-renewable resource. This means that we will eventually run out of it. Estimates of when we run out of coal vary from a few decades to a few centuries, but one thing is clear: we will run out one day.

Beyond this, coal contributes to pollution and almost all scientists agree that burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) is contributing to climate change, causing our CO2 levels in the atmosphere to jump from a healthy 350 ppm to an unhealthy 400 ppm. This contributes to a greenhouse effect, causing climate change and warming, and is only expected to rise! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, part of the UN, stated in their most recent report that we should reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and completely phase out CO2-emitting energy by 2100 in order to avoid “severe, pervasive, and irreversible” impacts for both ecosystems and people. Not only this, but Americans use energy so disproportionately that if everyone on earth consumed like Americans, we would need 5 earths to sustain our resource usage. We are consuming more than our fair share, and this is not socially responsible or ethical leadership. Put simply, We must drastically reduce our fossil fuel usage. We must do this in two ways: reduce our total consumption AND phase out fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and even other potential renewable energy sources that are undiscovered or still in their research phases.

Campus Conservation Nationals addresses the energy conservation component of keeping our earth a healthy place to live. If we want to reduce our energy usage, we need action. We need action not just from governments and big businesses (although this is very important!), we also need action from socially responsible students, faculty and staff. We need action from you.

What Can You Do?

Leaving a healthy earth for your children to inherit does not need to be complicated. Your actions can be as simple as using natural light in the daytime and using a power strip. There are many things you can do to conserve energy. Here is a list of simple actions you can take to make a difference this April and beyond! Pick as many as you feel comfortable with.

  • Unplug everything not in use
  • Set computer monitors to sleep after 5 minutes (or less) of inactivity
  • Adjust the thermostat to conserve energy
  • Turn off all the lights when you leave the room
  • Unplug electronics as soon as they are finished charging
  • Use a power strip and turn it off OR unplug it when not in use
  • Shut down computers every night
  • Turn off lights in common areas when you leave the room
  • Open the blinds during the daytime to make use of natural light
  • Always use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Use less hot water when showering, washing your hands, and washing your clothes
  • Take shorter showers
  • Use the solar-powered picnic tables between the Foster Rec Center and the Blair-Shannon Dining Hall to charge your electronics while you enjoy the nice weather!

How Can You Get Involved?

In addition to this, we have put together many fun events, competitions, challenges, and initiatives for you to participate in!

  • Energy Conservation Certification:Hang this poster on your office door/window to show off your energy conservation commitments:
  • Green Room Certifications – Residence Life
  • Take the Stairs Challenge: Take the stairs instead of the elevator and enter your flights on our website for a chance to win prizes!
  • Hour Without Power: Commit to going 1 hour without power once per week. Go outside!
  • Energy Conservation Commitment Instagram Challenge: Make a commitment and post it to Instagram for a chance to win prizes!
  • Social Media Energy Trivia: Answer our trivia questions on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win prizes!
  • Ecopalooza: Attend the ONLY solar-powered concert on Campus on April 24th! The event runs from 11:00 am to 8:30 pm on the north mall. Black bean burgers will be served on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:00 a.m.

You can find more information about all of these events on our Sustainability Website!

We hope you will take this month to reduce your energy consumption and carry your new habits beyond the month of April. The world needs you to act!

Missouri State University is committed to keeping our earth a safe, healthy, ethical place for generations to come.

We are flipping the switch in April. Are you?

Posted in Energy, Engagement | Comments Off on Campus Conservation Nationals

Conserve Energy – Setting Peak Demand

If you haven’t seen the email from Energy Management regarding energy conservation over the next few days, here is a quick overview:

City Utilities will be looking at the amount of energy we use now through Wednesday, August 27th.

They will then use this number to plan for how much energy we will use for the rest of the school year. This will tell them how much we must pay for demand – regardless of how much energy we actually end up using.

While it is important to always conserve energy, it is especially important over the next several days so that we are not overcharged for our high demand during this hot weather.

Here are some tips on how to conserve energy:

  • Turn off/unplug all electrical equipment and appliances that are not in use.
  • When leaving your office/classroom, turn off lights and computers.
  • Turn up the thermostats in those spaces where they are accessible.
  • Secure all windows and close shades, blinds and/or curtains.

This information was provided by MSU Energy Management, see below for the original notices that were sent out.

For more information, visit the Energy Management Website or contact EnergyManagement@MissouriState.edu

August 21, 2014


To all Springfield Campus faculty, staff and students –

Since we are experiencing the highest outdoor temperatures of the season, the campus annual electrical demand rates will likely be set for the entire year sometime today through Wednesday of next week.  The combination of students back for the Fall Semester and the extreme high temperatures will cause the electrical consumption to peak and therefore determine what electrical capacity City Utilities must plan for our campus throughout the entire year.  This establishes the minimum we must pay through the next 10 months for the demand portion of the electric bills, regardless of the actual electricity we consume. This is a cost the University must understandably pay, but if it is set with unnecessary consumption, we will have adversely impacted the utility expenses when it could have been avoided. 

Therefore, it is most important that we do what we can to minimize our electrical peak for these next few days.

Please help with the following:

  • Turn off electrical equipment and appliances that are not in use.
  • When leaving your office or classroom, turn off lights and computers if you are not returning for some time.
  • Turn up the thermostats in those spaces where they are accessible.

 Facilities Management is taking additional measures to conserve, including shutting down the fountains that are operated with large electrical motors.  Please join the campus community to step up and make a difference!

 Thank you for your cooperation.

August 25, 2014


To all Springfield Campus faculty, staff and students:

Thank you for your efforts to conserve energy during these recent very hot days when we are setting our peak demand for the season!  We are doing very well and making a difference!

We are tracking the peak demand of our major electrical feeds to campus as compared to the highest peak demand value set last summer.  See the graph below which illustrates last year’s peak in orange and our current 24-hour tracking this past Thursday and Friday.  Though the weekend had very high temperatures as well, the reduced activity in most of the buildings relieves us from setting peaks on Saturday and Sunday.   


So far, we have been consistently below last year’s peak demand, but we need your continued help through the next few days as the temperatures are going to continue to peak in the mid-90’s.

You can actually track real-time consumption of many of the campus buildings by going to the MSU Energy Dashboard at http://bedashboard.com/kiosk/86?autoplay=true.   (Use the drop down menu to locate buildings; this will also bypass the video, if desired.)

Please keep conserving energy by doing the following:

  • Turn off/unplug all electrical equipment and appliances that are not in use.
  • When leaving your office or classroom, turn off lights and computers if you are not returning for some time.
  • Turn up the thermostats in those spaces where they are accessible.
  • Secure all windows and close shades, blinds and/or curtains.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you!



Posted in Energy | Comments Off on Conserve Energy – Setting Peak Demand