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UMKC recognized for sustainablity

Johanna Poppel

Contributing Writer

Over the past few years, a growing concern to be kind to the environment swept the nation.

Companies have begun using recycled materials to manufacture their products; Frito Lay even created a

biodegradable chip bag for their Sunchips brand. Big-name companies are not alone on the journey to better the environment.

The Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental advocate organization in the United States, recently recognized UMKC as one of the top 100 sustainable universities nationwide.

UMKC is one of the top 100 on their list of 162 “cool schools.” The Sierra Club sent out an application asking questions about the school’s sustainability efforts and UMKC earned the 95th spot out of 162 applications.

The applications ask about many aspects of sustainability such as waste management, transportation, food and even the classes UMKC offers.

“In years past, UMKC wasn’t even invited to fill out the application. Last April we could, and it was really nice we could do that,” UMKC’s Sustainability Coordinator R. Kaye Johnston said.

“UMKC started beginning their sustainability efforts nine years ago,” Johnston said.

UMKC offers a variety of opportunities for students to become environmentally friendly. UMKC hired a full time sustainability coordinator to keep up with all of the campus’s projects.

“ We are recycling 53 percent of our waste. We also compost on campus and we recycle our construction waste. There is a lot going on,” Johnston said.

UMKC has two LEED certified buildings on campus and a student-run community garden behind the education building.

UMKC also participated in a competition called Recycle Mania and placed 8th out of 200 colleges on March 27, 2010. “We have saved $80,000 on waste by recycling,” Johnston said.

There is so much that UMKC is doing to become more sustainable, and even more projects are planned for the fall.

“We received a grant from Clean Cities and we are buying an electric-powered truck to pick up recycling,” Johnston said.

“Also, we need to put in more bike racks; more and more students are bringing their bikes to campus. The awareness is there,” Johnston said.

Contact Kaye Johnston for more information on joining UMKC’s sustainability efforts.

For more information on the Sierra Club, go to www.sierraclub.org.

You can also learn about UMKC’s effors for sustainability by visiting www.umkc.edu/sustainability.asp.

jpoppel@unews.com

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