Maryville University’s efforts to promote sustainability includes both on-campus work _ like recycling and composting programs and efforts to reduce the use of plastic bottles _ as well as outreach to welcome area residents to campus for green-related events and to improve the region’s environment.
On the Maryville campus this year, there’s not just an Earth Day, but an Earth Week. Campus groups held a potted plant give-away day, where people could choose from flowers or herbs they could take home to plant or water in the dorm. There was a solar s’mores event, where students had a chance to make some tasty treats in a solar oven. There’s also going to be a “green” fashion show, where former Project Runway contestant A.J. Thouvenot will serve as a judge.
And there’s a community involvement component to what’s going on as well.
Maryville alumni and area residents are welcome to take part in an electronics recycling drive. It provides a chance for them to drop off electronics that can’t safely be disposed of in a landfill. Peggy Lauer, the director of Maryville’s Center for Sustainability, says there are good reasons not to put electronic devices directly in the trash. “There are toxins that leach out, and it affects humans, not only our water supply and the land, but also wildlife.” Components such as lead, chromium and cadmium along with others found in electronics create potential contamination problems in the environment if they are discarded improperly.
The electronics recycling drive will be on Saturday, April 21 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no charge for this service. The drive will not accept furniture, mattresses, chemicals or paints. Anyone who wishes to participate is asked to follow the signs on campus to the McNally Parking Lot. The company that Maryville is working with makes sure that all equipment picked up will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and according to state and Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.
The electronics recycling drive is sponsored by the Green Maryville Student Association and Maryville University’s Center for Sustainability. The Center for Sustainability began last year as part of Maryville’s continuing work toward a greener future.
Senior Adam Paige, 26, of Festus, Mo., is the president of the Green Maryville Student Association. He said the organization plans both educational events, to help students learn more about the environment and the impact their choices have, and efforts to improve the environment on campus and in the region. In one effort, the Green Maryville Student Association works with Maryville’s Young Alumni group on a clean-up project to keep the Maryville Stream clean.
The commitment to the environment is year ‘round. Maryville now has a single-stream recycling program on campus, that allows everything but measurable foods and liquids, plastic bags and Styrofoam to be recycled. In the dining hall, food can be scraped into containers marked “landfill” but then any “to-go” containers can be placed into the recycling. Lauer notes compostable food scraps from food preparation are removed from campus and taken to be composted. And the University has dramatically reduced its use of plastic water bottles this year with the addition of hydration stations, spots on campus where people can refill containers with fresh water. “Those have been an enormous success, “ Lauer says. The stations include a feature that calculates that a plastic water bottle was saved from use for every 16 ounces of water that is dispensed. At last count, the hydration stations have kept more than 20,000 plastic bottles from use. Paige says the changes on campus and in the region have benefits. “A lot of times what we do when we promote `Green Maryville’ is promote a healthy environment, but it also means a healthy environment for us, for our bodies.”