Local journal honors University’s green effort

Amye Buckley

Damage paved the way for success as Missouri Southern’s sustainability committee took top marks against other local green projects.

On Feb. 12, Southern was honored as top winner in the green environment, higher education category of the “Going Green” awards presented by the Joplin Business Journal.

When the storms came through committee members came together to replace what was lost and ultimately to make a better campus.

“This is an excellent example of what students, faculty, staff, and administrators can do when they work together to creatively solve problems,” said Dr. Steve Smith, sustainability program coordinator and professor of geography.

Plans were developed over the summer and early fall and the trees were in the ground before the beginning of the spring semester.

Supported by Federal Emergency Management Administration funds, the group saw 157 trees planted in December – plans are being developed to landscape additional areas, including areas currently under construction that went untouched during the first phase.

“The initial project did not encompass the whole campus,” said Scott Wells, professor of biology.

Wells said areas near Billingsly and the Health Sciences buildings are next on the list, but the group also wants to do some landscaping by the residence halls and other locations on campus.

Trees and landscaping plants in the project will represent native species – although the group would also like to plant a tree from every state in the union and every themed-semester country.

Members are also beginning to fundraise to ensure the future of their project.