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BY JOHN McLAUGHLIN
Little sleep and much stress make 16 weeks pass with scarce notice. And here we are at the end of another semester.
The fall 2011 semester marked the first full string of meetings for the University of Missouri-Columbia chapter of OWAA. For this I am pleased.
Our group started first with officer training aimed at obtaining as much funding as possible from the University of Missouri. We then established our philanthropic objective. And now, we are gearing to capture as many of the qualified 33,318 total students enrolled here in mid-Missouri.
Funding is our major priority. Through funding, we are able to escape the university and enjoy the fruits of Missouri. We could dine during meetings, and even travel to Alaska for the next annual conference. Joe Pecoraro, our vice president, and I certainly enjoyed the 2011 OWAA conference in Salt Lake City.
Deciding on the type of philanthropy was easy. Most of Columbia lies on the Hinkson Creek Watershed — which suffers from the city’s storm water runoff and is listed as a impaired watershed per the federal Clean Water Act.
Our group, with help from the Missouri Stream Team Program, has adopted a stretch of the Hinkson flowing just south of MU. At the start of the spring semester, we will hold regular stream cleaning sessions to remove trash and debris from the creek side and begin collecting water-quality samples from our section of the stream.
Collaboration with the numerous other Stream Teams along the impaired water way is expected.
Aside from philanthropy, the group — after already losing members to last spring’s graduation — decided upon a multi-staged membership drive spanning the campus. Members already have stepped up to announce the arrival of our group during their regular classes.
During winter months, we will regularly establish a presence in the most heavily traversed indoor areas of campus. Namely, this includes our new multi-million dollar student center — which is regularly packed with students of every given demographic — the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and of course, the Missouri School of Journalism.
Spring will bring the opportunity of even more heavily-traveled areas with the addition of our university’s numerous green spaces.
For starters, we hope to procure five new members per semester, which gives us an average biannual growth of two to three students. Incoming freshman are of high priority.
Without a doubt, this past semester has been successful. We look forward to spring, when we expect a more pronounced expansion of MU membership.