featuresFebruary 28, 2024
Conservationism, the idea of actively protecting the environment, is an increasingly important practice that is taken seriously among students and professors on campus.
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Graphic by Dakota Ockel

Conservationism, the idea of actively protecting the environment, is an increasingly important practice that is taken seriously among students and professors on campus.

This is especially true for members of the Sustainability Club, a student organization focused on spreading awareness of environmental issues, as well as participating in volunteer work to improve the environment.

Junior environmental science major and Sustainability Club president Addyson Kimberlin hopes to promote these ideals to a larger audience across the university.

“What we really want to do with the club is to educate people about sustainability, about conservationm,” Kimberlin said. “A lot of the students in the club like to get out there and do things hands on. We’ve worked with the Missouri Department of Conservation, and we’ve gone to streams, gone on hikes, and we do lots of trash pickups.”

In correlation to the Sustainability Club’s activities, those on campus are beginning to see improvements in not only issues of debris on school grounds, but fundamental changes in how SEMO reduces their environmental footprint.

Environmental Science professor and Sustainability Club advisor Dr. John Kraemer had numerous examples of how waste and power reduction have advanced on campus.

“We have water bottle fillers all over campus now,” Dr. Kraemer said. “It’s clean water, but also saves us plastic bottles.”

Efforts in reserving energy and resources do not stop there. As Dr. Kraemer explained, there are also changes put into place to save electricity consumption.

“The facility folks changed out light switches that would turn off the lights automatically in most of the administration offices,” Dr. Kraemer said. “That saves a lot in terms of energy dollars and also replacing lights. I know they’re trying to phase out compact fluorescent lights with LEDs, which again saves dollars and is better lighting.”

Though SEMO is taking steps to better the environment, Dr. Kraemer ensures there are many simple things students can do to improve the environment in their everyday lives.

“There’s a lot of things you can do,” Dr. Kraemer emphasized. “Unplug your phone charger, your computer charger when you’re not there. Even though you may not be using it, it is still taking away electricity. Multiply that by the number of students who probably don’t do that, and that’s a lot of power that’s wasted.”

Pursuing their Master of Science, Environmental Science major and former Stream Team president Arif Ahmad shares similar sentiments.

The Stream Team, as explained by Ahmad, specializes in preserving clean stream water.

“I found that the Stream Team club is a different one. They focus on the water in the stream. How they can make stream water better. That is their main goal. Other than that, they also do some voluntary work like trash picking,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad believes there are many events and volunteer work that students can participate in to not only protect nature, but to gain knowledge as well.

“The upcoming 29th of February we have a trash picking-up event. There are also activities that students can attend if they get the level one water monitoring certificate,” Ahmad said. “It will be helpful for all other students so they can learn practically how to monitor the stream.”

To the respective members of the Stream Team and the Sustainability Club, knowledge of conservation methods is crucial to preserving the environment. With this, Dr. Kraemer expressed why it is important to be aware of these global issues.

“Obviously, the environment is important. I’m an environmental health person. So the environment and people’s health are quite tightly joined. If the environment goes bad, we’re going to have a very bad day. Of course, that’s a good reason to become aware of that. So you can help protect your health today,” Dr. Kraemer explained.

For more information on the Sustainability Club and Stream Team of SEMO, visit their respective pages on Engage SEMO.

In addition to this, the Missouri Stream Team website provides information regarding events, certifications, and resources available to the public.