The semester is nearing a close. Students, faculty, and community members are settling into their schedules and ready to add to their workload something bigger than themselves. As routines get solidified and alarm clocks become just another part of the morning, we start to ask ourselves—what can I do for my community? You probably see recycling bins on your way to study in the library, or see the Campus Garden as you park your car before your Contemporary Issues class. But how did these things come to be, and what can you do to help maintain them?
The Community Partnership of The Ozarks (CPO) has been helping to curate opportunities for Missouri State students, on campus and beyond. These opportunities take form as volunteer, internship, or work study jobs for students. The number of people needed to assist in these projects ranges from 1-6 depending on the scope of the project and the availability of the workers.
This year, MSU has signed on to uphold the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined by the United Nations. These goals are a comprehensive list of seventeen missions ranging from social inequality, poverty, gender discrepancy, clean air and water, reduced emissions, and more. Each on of CPO’s projects upholds one or more of the goals. Whatever your passionate about, you can find a project that is guaranteed to make your community a better place.
Below is a list of all of the projects provided by CPO for the 2019-2020 academic year with a brief description. There is a project listed for everyone, no matter your experience or which goal you resonate the most with.
1. Neighborhood Cleanup Program—SDGs 6, 11, 12, 13, 15
The is project focuses on implementing and expanding recycling practices in all of the 21 registered neighborhoods in Springfield. They work on recycling an incredible amount of items, including but not limited to tires, paper and plastic, household hazardous waste, electronics, brush, and leaves. The project calls for a maximum of six people and takes place on Saturdays from September through November, as well as March through June.
2. Expand Fix It Fairs—SDGs 11, 12, 13, 15
This project is an expansion of the Neighborhood Cleanup Program. They work on recruiting more volunteers for the project as well as working in more areas than the Neighborhood Cleanup Program. The Springfield Tool Library provides tools and other repair instruments to make broken items reusable. This project calls for 4-6 workers and works through the same timeline as the Neighborhood Cleanup Project.
3. Neighborhood Tool Library—SDGs 2, 11, 12, 13, 15
This project aims to introduce Tool Libraries on a smaller scale within neighborhoods as well as the library that exists for the entire community. The hope to partner with both the Campus Garden and Springfield Community Gardens to expand their reach to develop more community gardens. There are many aspects of this project that are still developing, but volunteers are still needed. The program calls for one or two workers and the timeline is dependent on availability.
4. Food Collaborative—SDGs 2, 3, 11, 12, 13
This project calls for someone to engage with current data and keep resources updated. It intends to maintain current food pantries as well as develop new ones. The focus is around food insecurity and waste. It calls for one or two students and is dependent on student schedules.
5. Transportation Collaborative—SDGs 3, 9, 11, 13
This project aims to develop awareness of public transportation options as well as encourage people to utilize alternative transportation methods, including biking, public transit, and trails. It also works in assisting the new MSU Bike Share Program to track data and feedback. This program could cut down on emissions as well as issues with parking, which we all know is a struggle. The program calls for 1-2 students and pending their availability.
6. Hope Connection—SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 16
This event offers specific services for the homeless community in Springfield. It includes services such as vision care, housing assessments, connections with the Division of Family Services, and services that are specific to Veterans. The maximum amount of students needed to work this event is six. As one of CPO’s largest events of the year, there is training before the actual event. The event takes place on November 20th from 8am-4pm, and a full day of work is necessary.
7. Ozarks Clean Air Alliance—SDGs 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15
The Ozarks Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) works towards educating the community about air pollution, monitoring pollution data, and identifying opportunities to improve air quality. This project calls for one or two students and is dependent on availability.
8. Warming and Cooling Shelters for The Homeless—SDGs 1, 3
This project works to identify shelters across Missouri for members of the homeless community. The worker of this project can work from home with occasional meetings with CPO, as it is a very flexible project. The project begins in September and runs for as long as necessary to identify all shelters.
I am confident that there is a project on this list for anyone interested in being involved in the community. For more information on the SGDs, click here.